By Jamila Pringle
Excitement filled the air as thousands of junior-high students and parents assembled at The Harlem Armory to celebrate the inauguration of newly instated president Barack Obama. The affair was sponsored by many organizations including The William J. Clinton Foundation, The Police Athletic League, Democrats for Education Reform and many more. This event, hosted by Democracy Prep Charter School, an elite public school in Harlem, turned out to be the largest inaugural celebration in New York. The community came together and proved once again why Harlem lives up to its name.
Tables and balconies surrounding the room were filled with high-spirited young people. The number of young participants in this Inauguration of a DREAM event was no match for the sense of joy that flowed from the heart of each young child. Fourth grader, Shareef Harrison, 9, was one of the many young students anticipating the induction of the new president to be. “I feel so excited. There is definitely going to be a change,” he stated adamantly. Children of every shade and color decorated the room, adding to the lively atmosphere. Bright flags extending from tiny hands, serving as a reminder of the change and unity this country is capable of, stood high in the air. Colorful posters painted in marker, displaying words that echo many of Obama’s campaign quotes.
Minutes before the swearing in of Senator Barack Obama all eyes were focused on the three full-sized flat screens plastered across the front of the room. Every person in the room, young and old, watched intently as Barack Obama took the oath of office as America’s 44th president. Exhilarating shouts of excitement filled the air as the entire room stood to their feet in honor of the new president. The entire room roared. “Obama! Obama! Obama!” Strong emotions surfaced as tears of joy, shouts of amazement, and uncontrollable laughter surged across the room.
The induction of America’s first black president meant a lot to the young students in the room. Many were aware that they were partaking in history. The heights to that which President Barack Obama reached gave the students a sense of being and personal encouragement. “I know I can do anything! I am so happy; I can’t believe it is really happening,” said Jay Allie, 13. Smiles were plastered across faces and hugs were plentiful. Tiffanie William, 14, was not afraid to express the happiness she felt. “I am so excited. Barack Obama makes me feel that every black person can reach their goals,” she stated enthusiastically.
The impression that this moment had on each individual was immense. This event gave many children of Harlem the notion that they too can dream. They too can reach extreme heights and make a difference. “I may run for president,” said Tiffanie William with a twinkle in her eye.