So much has been written about this past week of celebrating President Obama and his team of leaders in his cabinet. When you search ‘inauguration headlines’, you can see a great collage of newspaper headlines where Geoff scanned the front pages of newspapers all over the world; The Dawn of A New Era, Obama Takes Charge, Remaking America, Unity of Purpose, History Made Today… and on and on.
What struck me as most exciting was seeing the words “Hope Over Fear” in so many of the headlines –my personal favorite of the many outcomes of this transformative time! Choosing hope is such an important message to embrace – especially now.
For those of us on the National Mall for the Inauguration (my colleagues and activist friends Lisa, Ellen, Anita and I were among the 2 million there), we got to see hope in a multitude of faces. Ellen created a fun Poetry Improvisation activity that engaged people in expressing their own headline about the day. The photos of Inauguration festivities capture our trip and some of the sayings that people created and of course all of us participating at various stops along our five day visit in DC.
The exciting part of witnessing Ellen explaining this exercise to people was watching them lift up their spirits to express themselves on this chilly historic day. Folks seemed shy to engage for a brief moment with strangers but this was quickly erased by the excitement to 'see' their voices. People were on the sideline watching and jumped in to unite in a shared conviction even though they were posing in a photo with strangers. What a gift to see such joy among so many and to witness an activist in her element so well received.
Prior to being on the Mall there were other activities we attended including the National Center for Women’s Organization Ball and the Emily’s List celebratory luncheon. The luncheon was truly a highlight with 2,500 people in attendance to salute the new women leaders in the President’s Cabinet and Congress. Hearing Hilda Solis, Janet Napolitano, and, my personal favorite, Hillary Clinton, speak was so moving. To say that these three women are dedicated public servants is an understatement. All of their words and stories about where they intend to lead us all resonated with selflessness and deep conviction for integrity, equity, and promise. One could palpate the hope and strength that they exuded. I only wish we could bottle it and spray it across all of us!