Why I Dropped Everything for the Biden-Harris Inauguration
And why I was happy to be wrong about a historic moment
Like millions around the world, I dropped everything to watch the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. And though I'm happy to see the end of the orange era, and the Biden-Harris era begin, it was really the first of those inaugurations that made me watch. The moment when Harris swore her oath was LIFE!
It's something I never thought I'd see in my lifetime - a Black and South Asian woman in the White House. I never thought I'd see a Black man as President, either, and both times, I've never been happier to be wrong.
I often talk about the importance of representation. If you can see something, it becomes an achievable dream. So when Barack Obama became the President of the US in 2008, that was a huge moment for Black people around the world. It suddenly meant anything was possible for Black boys and men in the US (theoretically, at least, because many problems still exist).
Now Black girls and women can experience the same feeling of possibility. As a Black woman, that means a lot to me, even though I'm not American. There was a lump in my throat as I watched history being made, and I gave silent thanks for what that moment symbolized.
Returning to Biden himself, I also felt a sliver of hope for the first time in four years. As I've said before, what happens in the US affects people outside it. And it affects people I know and love within its borders. Decency and hope have been woefully absent in the orange era, and nobody has been able to exhale for months, fearful of what might come next. With racists barely kept at bay, and an attempted coup, it's no wonder we were holding our breath.
Of course, this isn't the time to relax. The orange one and his supporters are still out there, likely planning more mayhem. And though the inauguration optics looked good - great even - there's still a lot of work to do to fix the systems that disproportionately hurt Black people. We can't take our eye off the ball, and we can't stop the work we have begun.
But for today, we can take a moment to enjoy the welcome wind of change, before returning to the fray tomorrow.
Thanks for being here. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the inauguration.
© Sharon Hurley Hall, 2021. All Rights Reserved.
Cover photo: Wikimedia Commons