Friday, January 23, 2009

Ushering in an era of hope and change

A peaceful transfer of power

The world watched Tuesday as Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th president of the United States ushering in a new era driven by the words "hope"and "change."

Obama, son of a white woman from the United States and a black man from Kenya in Africa, recited his oath of office in front of more than 1 million people present in Washington D.C. and countless others watching from around the world.

The United States once more, as it has in its long history, had a peaceful transfer of power. Peaceful and gracious, as former President George Bush and First Lady Laura Bush welcomed the Obama family to the nation's capital over the last few weeks.

Obama brings a diverse background, young family and a drive to work towards a better America to the seat of government in Washington, D.C.

Local residents speak out

I spoke to some Patterson residents this week and most were ready to support their new leader.
Kristina Santos, president of the West Side Democratic Committee, said the group had an inauguration party Tuesday night at a local home.

"It was a wonderful day and it is a new America," Santos said. "There's a spirit of unity that was evident in all the people who came to Washington, D.C. to celebrate with joy. There's a new feeling of confidence and hope in our government that conditions in our country and our relationships around the world improve."

Retiree Sandy Mc Dowell got up early Tuesday morning to listen to all the "hoopla" as she called it.

"It was truly thrilling to see the crowds and realize some of the intense planning and preparation for this inauguration," McDowell said. "Seeing all those people — they were just so enthusiastic. They even showed 'clips' of people around the country and around the world."

Changes in our nation

Two local women of color have seen changes in our nation in the past few years.

“It was the second most historical moment that I can remember, " said Juanzette Hunter. "The first being Nov. 4 with him winning the election. And by getting the younger and older ones who never voted before the possibility of hope and change. It was a personal thing for me being from the South and seeing the changes in the world from a child till present. "

Hunter added the thought that now we all need to work together for a better future.

"If all the politicians and us common people work together, we probably could see a change quicker," Hunter said. "I’m very happy to be a part of history so I can tell my grandchildren one day. And my great-grandchildren because I’m going to be around then too."

Cerise Grice and her husband, Andre, took the day off from work so they could watch every moment of the inauguration. Cerise also made sure students in her children’s classrooms were watching. Daughter Simone toured the nation's capital this summer first hand through a leadership conference.

Simone, age 11, said President Obama is a great leader and a role model.

"He wants to help the economy by getting people back to work and keep them in their homes," Simone said. "He's inspired people to believe that our challenges will be met."

Her mother is also confident the nation will move on to brighter days.

"I have been supportive of his(Obama's ) campaign and his approach moving our country forward, " Grice said. "I’m a native of Chicago and I’ve known him since his appointment to the state senate of Illinois."

Grice said Obama has engaged youth in the political process and it transends all factions — beyond race, gender and religion.

"Even though my daughter is not of age to vote she understands our government leadership process," Grice said. "That's what I love about his speech, it was so encouraging reminding us we are one people and one nation."

Veterans support new leader

Retiree and war veteran Wade Norris watched the televised events.

"It was a great inauguration — attendance broke a world record," Norris said. "Barack Obama says he's for change. He's got a plate full. We all wish him luck. I believe he's going to make a good president."

Gene Carter, another war veteran, is willing to give Obama a chance.

"He did a very good job on his inauguration speech," Carter said "I think he's going to do a heck of a job as president."

Associated Press photos

Monday, January 19, 2009

A time to look ahead

Tomorrow a new U.S. President— Barack Obama — will take the oath of office in Washington, D.C.

People from throughout the world will watch, along with Americans, as our new leader begins his four-year journey.

Obama takes over from George Bush and will inherit the long litany of problems including war, economy, foreclosures, health care and the stock market — just to name a few.
The task ahead is massive as we have heard through television, radio, computer and newspapers.
As president-elect, Obama began work a few months ago and is ready to hit the ground running this week. Along with Joe Biden, his new vice-president, and with a new team of leaders, Obama will takle all the issues — all enormous.

One bright note is the White House will have a young family — Michelle, Sasha and Malia Obama and Michelle's mother. Their news will focus on the every day — from what singers and entertainers they like to what puppy will live in the family home.

Every day distractions are welcome ones at that help balance the messages of doom and gloom we are bombarded with every day.

Friday, January 2, 2009

A new beginning

As we turn the pages of the calendar, we start a New Year and a new beginning. The year stretches ahead of us with hopes of better, healthier more prosperous times than in 2008.

We remain optimistic that 2009 will bring a stable economy, affordable home prices for all, food on the table for families and jobs for those who need them.

It is tough to stay optimistic when we turn on the TV and hear all about the doom and gloom throughout the globe. The stories from throughout the United States citing failing banks, businesses, corporations and needed bailouts have shaken consumer confidence. Stores closed and people lost their jobs.

Here in Patterson numerous individuals, businesses and clubs have stepped forth to help those less fortunate. A new group, named Project HOPE(Helping Our People Eat) has taken root. Organizers want to assure those folks who need it have food during the winter months. There's always a spike in giving at holiday time and it levels off the rest of the winter.

Project HOPE folks will start a food drive to fill the shelves of local food pantries in the next week or so. Hopefully, food collected will last the food pantries through the spring when job prospects should be much brighter.

When Project HOPE volunteers come knocking at your door please give generously. There will be drop off boxes stationed throughout businesses and one can leave the donations there also.

Let's all keep pulling together for those in need no matter what the season.