Thursday, January 22, 2009
Despite having to get up at 3am to arrive at the Largo Metro Station, to take the first trolley at 4am, to witness and celebrate the election of the first African American president, in 20 degree weather, it was an amazing and unforgettable experience. - Dr. Tanis Starck, Director of the Intercultural Center
Inauguration Day was filled with adventure. Getting started at 5:30am along with millions of others in the freezing weather. But to be part of this defining moment in American and black history, I am blessed and proud. - Jini Hogg, Counselor, Office of Educational Opportunity Programs (EOP) and Ethnic Affairs
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
It really happened... :)
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
I apologize for not being able to write yesterday as it was a very busy day with the conference activities. We left the hotel at 1:30 this morning to make the hike down to the Capitol building. It may seem a little extreme to leave at such a time, but Britt, my roommate Michele, and I were determined to get as close to the Capitol as possible. We left the hotel this morning
Our initial trip from the Omni to 7th street (a supposed entrance to the mall) was approximately 2.1 miles. As soon as we arrived at the gate though, we received news that the north side of the mall would only provide access to the parade, and not the swearing in ceremony. No one police officer was clear about how we could get to the other side, and each gave us several different answers. It was around 3 AM at this time, and we finally resolved to walk from our current position on 7th and go around the back of the Capitol building. Talk about a hike!
As we got closer, we were directed by some “nicer” officers who told us where to go and how we could get there. Our favorite officer, whom we decided to call “Officer McHottie” for obvious reasons, informed us that we could proceed to 3rd street as long as we were on the west side, and we would be able to access the mall lawn without a ticket (oh yeah, did I mention the conference didn’t provide tickets for us? Well they didn’t, so we tried to do the best we could without one). I could not tell you how excited I was when I saw our view from this particular lawn. If you paid any attention on CNN or NBC, the lawn we were on was the second one located directly behind the pond that is in front of the Capitol. With my dad’s fancy camera, I was sure that I would get an amazing picture of Barack come Inauguration time. We arrived there roughly around 4:30 AM and settled into a perfect spot directly in front of the building with a jumbotron to our right.
As 6AM rolled around, our happiness was literally shattered, gone with the 8 degree, freezing cold wind. The cops came and cleared us and the other 300 people that were there in that area. Supposedly it was a ticketed area. By this time there were too many people to fight our way in for a spot, especially since we were exhausted from adding another 3-4 miles to our starting 2.1. I cannot explain how disappointed we were, and we just decided to head back to the hotel and watch it from there. Appropriately, I think, Britt called the day “the worst day at Disneyland on steroids times King Kong.” So much for “Officer McHottie,” right?! DANG IT!!!
At the very least, it was an experience, and we gave it our darndest effort to witness such an unforgettable event. I can still say I was in D.C. (not many people can say that), that we were the students who were able to get the closest to the Capitols, and that I did see the person whom I regard as my hero speak at the concert. That was an experience of its own, and simply an incredible highlight of my life! And hey, we got to see former President George Bush’s helicopter leave D.C. from our hotel window, and I totally called the style and color of Michelle’s dress! ; ) I loved it! I can’t say that I wasn’t bummed about the day though, but all I can say is “oh well.” Our little inaugural ball did help take my mind off the whole day, and it was nice to relax a little. When you see my pictures, you will see why I was so heartbroken over not being able to stay where we were on the mall. I’ll also post some pictures of Al Gore from yesterday, and some fun pictures from the ball tonight.
Before I leave D.C. I want to give a few shout outs:
Mom, Dad, and Steph: I love you guys!
Mike and Eric: I saw Beyonce. You’re jealous.
The office girls: I still haven’t seen Oprah or Anderson : (
Lizzie: Wish you were here with me girl!
Stewart: I have tons of pics to share with you, but I’m sure that it won’t be enough. We’ll talk about the actual inauguration frenzy…
Stephanie, Mandy Brooke, Candy, Brady, E, and Bekah: Hey, girls, hey from D.C.!!!
JT and Jamie: I said “What’s Up” to the man at the concert.
Kadie and Teresa: you would have loved this!
Thanks everyone for all the great texts and facebook messages. I still had a great trip during my time here in D.C. and I’m truly looking forward to coming again soon… just not during the winter ever again! I’ll see you all at home. Enjoy the pics on this site and on facebook.
P.S. I’m pretty sure I just saw the motorcade pass on the bridge that I can view from my room’s window. If it wasn’t, don’t tell me; I’d like to believe it regardless! God does love me!!! Haha : )
Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore created this video along with other celebrities to support the nationwide change inspired by President Barack Obama. Take a look.
MySpace Celebrity and Katalyst present The Presidential Pledge
For more information
Once we got through the first check point, we waited until the sun came up for about another 2 hours. Then we made our way through the crowds and grab our spot. This was the view from our original "standing" seats...it filled up pretty quickly and it was coldest here, because we didn't move for another 2 hours. Directly in front of us (the pool) was a section originally reserved for what seemed to be for the elderly and disabled. However, a fence came down...and we made our way a little closer. We marked our spots right on the first set of steps, so the view was PERFECT!
We met some very interesting, funny, and friendly people around us. One girl had lost her friends during the movement to get closer, so she pretty much was with us until the very end and she was able to find her friends again. She was from Nashville, Tennessee. There were people from EVERYWHERE...all ages, races, religions, cultures...it was surreal to say the least.
My brother and I were taking still shots and video for Fox 5 news station back in San Diego...this is some of the live feed we sent them. I heard some of the footage and images aired (thanks David), so I look forward to watching it when I get back home!
All of these pictures and videos came from my phone...I have many more from my camera and will upload and post them when I get a chance.
to be continued...
One inaugural party I could not miss was the one hosted by the Embassy of Kenya. Live performances from the Boys Choir of Kenya and other outstanding Kenyan entertainers packed a DC ballroom. Attendees chanted and cheered to the traditional sounds of the gem of east Africa.
President Obama's Kenyan heritage is something that he embraced throughout his campaign. Host Kenyan Ambassador, His Excellency Peter Ogego noted that the Kenyan community came together to celebrate the success of one of their own. Performance poet and author Caroline Nderitu gave a moving monologue "I Want to Wake up to Kenya". SDSU undergraduate, Political Science major, Mercy Akinmulero with her uncle Sammi Akinmulero, CEO of the African Chamber of Commerce DFW were also in attendance.