'I Belong Here'

RECEIVED Thu., Nov. 6, 2008

Dear Editor,
    I'm sure there are a million joyous letters coming in, but here is mine: I suddenly discovered, during Obama's acceptance speech, that the reason I've been so cautious about being optimistic about this election is that my personal stakes were so high. Seeing him elected and hearing his words and thinking about his campaign, I realized: I finally will live in my country, one that isn't fully dominated by white men of another generation, where diversity is an assumption and seen as a benefit, where youth and optimism can go hand in hand with experience and wisdom. My president will reflect my world in his very face, in his very name – African-American, white, raised in the Pacific, Muslim name: He is polyglot, as my world is. He speaks with gravitas, with seriousness, with no fear of three-syllable words that better describe the nuances of what a country must do to advance and breed peace, rather than issuing the guttural grunts of discord.
    I felt the change in my whole body in a way that was bigger than I could have ever imagined. I belong here. I belong here. I belong here.
Katelena Hernandez Cowles
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