A week and a day ago, I had the most surprising and empowering honor of attending President Obama’s Farewell Address. It all happened so quickly, and to be honest, I’m still reeling and processing it all. It’s one thing to hear him speak on television or the radio. It’s an entirely different experience to be in his presence. The energy in that room, as large and overwhelming as it was, was palpable, positive, and moving. Between the President’s heartfelt greeting and emotional thank yous to First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, there were plenty of shouts from the audience begging the POTUS for another term. “FOUR MORE YEARS! FOUR MORE YEARS!” Each sentiment growing louder than the last.
There was a sense of urgency among the crowd. We needed him to carry us through what feels like a darker and more dangerous time than my generation and I had ever faced before. To our call, the POTUS responded, “I can’t do that.” It’s true, eight years is enough, and what’s even truer is that he can’t be our leader forever, no one can. We keep searching and waiting for someone to step up and be the leader we need. Surprise! Tag, we’re it. And the POTUS agrees. He used his platform, his farewell address, to encourage us to pick up the torch and keep moving, keep fighting, keep organizing. His infinite hope in us, in America, in mankind probably feels a little unbearable and even unrealistic at times, but I believe it is this same unwavering hopefulness that can and will carry us through any obstacle we face. And it is this same hopefulness that was and still is reflected in Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
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