I have three beautiful cousins who are being raised by their aunt in Florida. They’re African-American, two girls and one boy: Hadiya, Nadira, and Omari. I love them dearly – they’re amazing people. Some of you might remember my visit with them, where I stopped to see them on my way home from filming in the Dominican Republic in the spring.
The first night of my visit, we were all sitting on the porch eating a yummy dinner and Nadira, the youngest, asked who I was going to vote for: Hillary or Barak. All three of them said they were voting for Barak – and they were beaming when they said it.
Later that evening my aunt and I were talking after they’d gone to bed and she said, that it doesn’t matter so much who wins. What matters is that here are three children who are growing up thinking that it is normal for a woman and a black man to become president.
When I was a child in the 70s, we were still coming out of the Civil Rights Movement. Women’s Lib was the current phrase. People were fighting hard for basic rights. The Equal Rights Amendment didn’t even pass.
And here we are today, a woman ran for president. An African-American ran for president. And another woman ran for Vice President. And wow, our country has elected an African-American to become our new president. What a victory for tolerance, for diversity, for the American dream as our ancestors immigrated here hoping for a better life, for equal footing, for respect, and for the chance to be who they dream to be.
Here are some pictures I took with my cell phone as Matt and I walked home from an election party on Tuesday night. This is the center of our neighborhood, on Broadway and Olive, just up the street from our house. Hundreds of people were dancing in the streets for hours. White, black, hispanic, gay and straight – all dancing together, celebrating diversity, celebrating hope, celebrating a new America.
We have come a long way. Here in Seattle, we voted to extend our new mass transit system. We voted for more parks. We voted to refurbish the aging downtown farmer’s market. Californians voted to extend animal rights. It was a good night to be an American.
In this neighborhood where I live, a large portion of the population is gay. And while we made great strides toward equal rights this week, we are not finished with this process. Three states voted for a ban on gay marriage. So we still have a long way to go.
But I am hopeful that we have come so far in my 35 years. I am hopeful that the children of my many gay friends will see great strides during their lifetime, that they will see tolerance grow, that they will experience the breadth of the American dream, as people of all types live here hoping for equal footing, for respect, and for the chance to be who they dream to be.
This week I am proud to be an American. Whoever you voted for on Tuesday, I hope you are proud too. Here’s to increased tolerance, to extended mass transit, to more parks, to improved farmer’s markets, to animal’s rights, to diversity, to respect, and to a wonderfully improving America!
Update: Just found this video of our neighborhood party…