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Ramon Johnson

Harlem After The Results Of The 2008 Presidential Election

By November 5, 2008

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The streets of Harlem were filled with joy (and relief) as Barack Obama was announced as the 44th president elect. There were tears and cheers and celebrations all over the country; but here in Harlem where I watched it unfold, I felt like I was at the heart of history. It seemed as if we all shed a simultaneous tear of joy. I could see on the news that many across the country, in their own homes, shared my sentiment.

I called my 105-year-old great-grandmother. She never imagined that she would live to see this day. I called my mom and my dad and my uncles and my cousins. I felt proud as an African-American man.

And then I shed another tear. The group around me was silenced during Senator John McCain's concession speech and at the onset of President-elect Barak Obama address. Then more applause erupted at 66 Election Center as President-elect Barack Obama uttered the word "gay" in his Chicago victory address. I was stunned. A president uttering the word gay with a message of inclusion instead dissent. When was the last time a president used the word not to marginalize me as a gay man, but to unify me as an American? I felt proud. Gay, African-American: a new hope for both.

Share Your Election Day Experiences:
Do you have an amazing or heart-felt election day story that you would like to share? How does Barack Obama's election make you feel? Comment below.

Image © Spencer Platt/Getty Images.
Comments
November 5, 2008 at 7:55 pm
(1) Kathy says:

Ramon
What an amazing night, huh? We were shocked and amazed out here on the West Coast when the race was called as soon as the polls closed.

People shot off fireworks in my neighborhood and the small gathering at my house danced around my living room. It’s amazing to feel like we witnessed history!
I blogged about my experience here.

November 6, 2008 at 2:09 pm
(2) gaylife says:

OMG, I love your pic with Barack! We were anxiously waiting for California to come in and within a second the announcement flashed. I swear I could feel the street rumbling. 125th Street, one of the main streets in Harlem, was packed with people and cars well past 2AM. I’d never seen anything like it, especially for a presidential election. The best part is after his speech, almost everyone at the election party was like, “I need to go home and re-evaluate my goals now!” Nice!

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