Today I watched President Obama’s speech that took place to commemorate the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” in Selma, Alabama. President Obama stood proudly at the foot of the Edmund Pettus bridge where 50 years ago hundreds marched to protest for the constitutional right to vote. The march on the Edmund Pettus bridge was one of three planned marches that would galvanize the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
As I stood in my kitchen watching the speech live on CNN, I was struck at how far our country has come in terms of overcoming obstacles. On a day to day basis the time for a deep reflection on our nation’s history is not taken. The President so eloquently captured our nation’s most trying times and focused on the positive changes and growth we have made as a community of people.
The speech was powerful and poignant. The central message encompassed the work of not just a few, but of all Americans. The emphasis on the collective power of a group showed that together we can make amazing things happen. I know that today’s speech was directed towards all Americans on a day meant to commemorate the history that took place there 50 years ago, but it was the President’s call to young people that really struck me.
“You are America. Unconstrained by habits and convention. Unencumbered by what is, and ready to seize what ought to be. For everywhere in this country, there are first steps to be taken, and new ground to cover, and bridges to be crossed. And it is you, the young and fearless at heart, the most diverse and educated generation in our history, who the nation is waiting to follow.” -President Obama
I plan to keep these words close to me as I find them extremely inspiring. Empowering ourselves and empowering our young people to take the first steps toward positive change will undoubtedly affect the greater good of humanity.