Wow! What a day. It’s hard to believe it’s all over, but it is. I’ve participated in many Election Day’s, but this by far was the most emotionally and physically draining of them all. And at 2:08 in the morning, I still find myself awake unable to go to sleep from the excitement of Senator Barack Obama as our new President.
I’ve gotten very little sleep over the past few weeks—I mean there was so much to do. First we had to get Blacks in L.A. who weren’t registered to vote, a reason and opportunity to do so. Then we had to get out the vote. Add to that, California’s local and state races and measures—and it was one busy election season.
My Election Day was spent in the hood campaigning with Los Angeles City Councilman Bernard Parks who was a candidate for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in the Second District.
I started my day at Martin Luther King Hospital in Watts before heading over to the Jordan Downs Housing Projects. From there it was off to the Watts Coffee House for breakfast before hopping on the Metro Blue Line over to the Green Line and west to Vermont. We finally ended up in Ladera Heights at Magic Johnson’s Starbucks and T.G.I.F. Fridays.
There was a lot of support out there and Councilwoman Jan Perry, the only Black woman on the Los Angeles City Council dedicated her entire day to getting out the vote with us. Shout outs to my BFF Alan-Michael, Amy, and Pam for also helping out today.
When it was all said and done, while there was a lot of support out there, it wasn’t enough for Parks to win the seat, so he will remain on the City Council representing the Eighth District. And while I have my feelings about this local race, I was both moved and inspired by the people I talked to today throughout Los Angeles—but especially in the JD’s about voting.
It was our brothers and sisters in the projects that I thought about when it was announced that Obama had clenched the presidency. I am hoping that his victory restored some of their confidence in a system that has been so harsh to our people. That maybe now, they will believe that their vote really does count.
So you win some and you lose some. I have no regrets for where I placed my support this election cycle. The race for outgoing Supervisor Yvonne Burke’s seat was contentious with L.A.’s Black leadership split down the middle when it came to support on both sides. I think a lot of attention was placed on the national race, but it’s the local races that have much more of an impact on our daily lives so I make a point to get involved on some level each election. When it’s all said and done—frenemies will kiss and make up and it’s on to the next round of musical chairs.
But the race for County Supervisor wasn’t the only local issue on the ballot Blacks were voting on.
From the controversial Proposition 8, a measure to eliminate same-sex marriage to Proposition 4 dealing with parental consent of minor abortions, L.A. has been a hotbed of activity—and the Black community was right in the middle of it all.
Even as I type this the numbers are too close to call regarding Proposition 8 and I doubt I’ll stay up to see the final numbers. I can find out when I wake up, lol.
No matter what side you were on—winning or losing—regarding the race for Supervisor or the propositions—Blacks in L.A. who voted for Obama all came out as winners in this election.
The images of Black people all over Los Angeles County and the country lined up to vote made all of long nights, campaigning, registering, arguing, debates, events—all of it—worth it. We did it! We really did!
When it was announced that Obama won I screamed, cried, laughed, hugged, kissed, and texted. When I was done doing that, I called my grandmother. My 87-year-old grandmother who had to move from South Carolina to Ohio after her father kicked a white man’s cow and was about to by lynched. My grandmother who lived through the first stock market crash and whose mother cleaned the houses of rich white people. My grandmother who lived through the 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s to see the 60s and Dr. King and now today our first Black president.
I have a lot more to say—but I’m getting sleepy. No worries—November 5th is a national holiday on my calendar…more soon come and you can best believe that.
Good night—or rather morning.