Eight years and counting: Obama presidency has long-lasting impact

Illustration by Melissa Irish

Illustration by Melissa Irish

Avery Spencer, Reporter


On January 20, 2009, my mom picked me up from school early to my surprise. I had no idea why, but who am I to complain at nine years old? I got home, excited to see all of my family together in the living room. Even my brother wasn’t in school. Little did I know, this was one of the most important days in history: It was the day of President Barack Obama’s Inauguration.

As we sat there watching him get sworn in, I noticed the sense of pride and joy in the eyes of all my family members. I always knew having a black president was something big, but I just now realize the impact it has had on my life.

I realized growing up that seeing Obama as president is like looking at myself as a president. He loves the same music as me, same sports, also has the same sense of humor. Our country has never seen someone like him in that type of mass spotlight taking hate from every direction and still staying true to his roots. He never strayed away which made us believe in him more and more.

I also failed to realize the effect he has had on all the black kids of my generation. I realized the reason I walk with so much poise and confidence is partially because of him. Everyday for the past eight years, I’ve woken up knowing that it is actually possible for me to hold the highest position of power.

On top of that, he welcomed all of our other idols with open arms to The White House. Before Obama was in office you rappers were rarely seen in The White House, though in 1991, Eazy-E got a surprising–and some say mistaken–invitation.

Aside from just Barack, his own family made just as much of an impact as he did.

Michelle Obama is an amazing role model for all young girls, especially young black girls. She is a Harvard Graduate and has done countless seminars and speeches in front of other women to inspire them to use their voice and strive to chase their dreams. It is rare for young black women to see other black women speak with poise and confidence as Michelle Obama has in the past eight years.

Looking back now, I realized that that day was almost unfathomable for people of color who grew up in the thickest point of tension for racism. My grandmother never thought we would have a black president, let alone live to see it.

I cannot thank the Obamas enough for the influence they have had on me and other young kids like me. I can’t wait for my generation to show what their impact has accomplished by changing the world for the better in our own unique way.