Liz Cedillo-Pereira: The Inauguration Means We All Must Participate

Liz Cedillo-Pereira is a friend that I met while in Denver covering the Democratic National Convention.  Her feelings on why she chose not to go to D.C. are similar to why I decided to stay in Dallas.

While it was very nice to receive an invitation to attend the Inauguration of President Barack Obama, I will not be among the multitudes of North Texans in D.C. for this historic moment. In fact, a few months ago, I promised any windfall such as an invitation to one of my best buddies Kenneth Martin, who did not have the opportunity to attend the Democratic National Convention in Denver like I did.

liz

Arriving early in the morning to get a good seat at Invesco, Liz Cedillo-Pereira waves from the Texas Delegation area at the Democratic National Convention.. Photographer: Janet Morrison.

My inauguration moment occurred in August at Invesco Field in Denver, Colorado as Barack Obama accepted the presidential nomination of his party. This moment which I shared with about 80,000 others was indeed a rare opportunity.  I sprinted home to tell my friends and family all about it. That moment at Invesco provided one of those rare feelings of “knowingness.”

Instead of waiting to board the Texas Delegation charter bus, I arrived very early with my friend and blogger, Janet Morrison. As I sat patiently waiting, I enjoyed a “private” concert as Stevie Wonder, Sheryl Crow and Michael McDonald rehearsed.

I witnessed all the special security forces, planners, journalists, take their places and prepare for the monumental occasion. And I prayed, mostly giving thanks for those who fought for the progress we’ve made since Dr. King’s speech that he delivered in Washington D.C. exactly 45 years prior.

I knew that day in my heart and soul that Barack Obama would be our next President. I did not need to wait until November to know, at that moment, I knew. It did not matter that the world could not relish the in the moment with me, for the next day’s news of Sarah Palin drew global attention to Wasilla, Alaska.

I did not necessarily derive my “knowingness” from Obama’s acceptance speech but from the disposition of the crowd who witnessed it. As I sat between an elected official from Dallas, Rafael Anchia, and a retired gentleman from Florida who served as precinct chair near where my mother-in-law lives, I knew Obama was meant to bring disparate voices together even if they did not agree with all of his viewpoints…which brings me to where I will be commemorating the Inauguration.

I will be attending my mother’s own swearing in of sorts as she puts her boxing gloves back on and attends her first chemotherapy session since finding out her multiple myeloma has relapsed. While I won’t be among the cheering crowds, I will have one of the best seats in the house – seated beside the woman who gave me life and inspired me to believe in my own capacity to contribute to the greater good.

When the inauguration is over, we are all responsible for helping President Obama. He has a lot on his plate – a conflict in Gaza, a monsterous economic crisis, closing Guantanamo, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, formulation of his legislative agenda to create jobs, passage of universal health care coverage, prioritization of education, passage of smart immigration reform, and much more. He cannot do it alone. He needs all of us to take part in the democratic process…whether we are in Dallas, Texas or in Washington, D.C.

Liz Cedillo-Pereira is a partner with Cedillo-Pereira & Cedillo, PLLC who recently helped form the Texas DREAM Act Coalition. She can be reached at mecp@cedillolaw.com

Shawn Williams appearances on KLIF (Jeff Bolton) and NBC 5

Still trying catch up on some stuff from the DNC Convention, it will probably take me the rest of the month to get all of the content out.  The above is part of an interview I did with Jeff Bolton on KLIF 570.  Thanks to Jeff and Clint Granberry for asking me to be on, I look forward to my next segment.

Also click here to view a really nice report NBC 5′s Ken Kalthoff did on my preparation for the trip.  

Sitting Down

It’s been a busy morning even though it doesn’t seem like we’ve gotten a lot accomplished. We’ve done a lot of walking and had to go here and there to pick up various credentials.

We conducted an interview with Tyler Arthur, a local guy who wrote a book titled “God Is Not An Elephant.” Tyler is a Christian who used to work for George H.W. Bush. He’s now telling fellow Evangelicals why they should reconsider their political leanings.

We are now at the bloggers BBQ and I’m eating my first vegetables of the day. Uh Oh, here comes Howard Dean.

A Tale of Two Conventions

As soon we got off the plane in Denver, you could feel that something special was about to take place. There were people holding signs of all types. We talked to delegates from all over the country. What was more, there were people in town for vacation or to visit, and they all weighed in on the DNC Convention.

Barack Obama supporters were enthusiastic, walking the streets taking it all in. Black, White, Asian, Hispanic, young and old, the atmosphere is electric.

But then there’s the Hillary Clinton supporters. It’s like they have their own pitty party going on. One guy told us he’ll vote for Barack Obama in November, but he won’t campaign or raise funds like he usually does for the Democrats. One lady I talked to seemed sad that she was even going to Denver. She wore a shirt that said “Thanks Hillary” The Hillary supporters are garbed out…but so are Obama supporters.

When we got on the plane I heard the first of many conversations broken up into “Hillary Supporters” and “Obama Supporters.” One vendor pulled us aside in the Red Lion (Texas Delegation) and told us to “watch out for the Hillary people.” I’m not sure what we were supposed to watch out for, but he was pretty adamant about it. I heard a conversation between three “hard-working, blue-collar, middle class” voters who said “they need to just get over it,” speaking of Clinton supporters, “it’s time to move on.”

Not so sure they’re ready to do that with talk of an 18 million voters protest scheduled for later this week. When we get a read on this Hillary for V.P. petition, we’ll let you know.