When deciding whether or not to write this blog and then make it a feature, I reflected on when and where my adventure began. I realized looking back that it started in 2006 in early October while listening to a book on CD by former President Carter. His Presidency was the first that I actively followed in school and out of school, I was interested in what was happening in that big White House. While listening to his voice at the beginning of the CD, it was right on queue when he started talking about teaching Sunday School at his church; I thought that’s it, I will visit his church. So that evening at home, I approached my husband with the idea and after pausing he said sure why not. So that night I googled “Jimmy Carter’s Church” and reviewed the Maranatha Baptist Church Sunday School schedule for President Carter.
On Saturday, December 10, 2006 after going through Secret Service screening my husband and I were sitting in the 10th row listening to Ms. Judy give a brief overview of what to expect. Approximately an hour later President Carter was teaching the Sunday School lesson from Hebrews 1; and at the end of the lesson my husband answered the first question. We stayed through the Worship service which spun off of the Sunday School lesson and with other excited visitors took the opportunity to take a photo with the Carter’s. We also filled out a form and gave a donation to receive a VHS tape (they were working on moving to DVD). Always a believer that amazing things can really happen, it was at that very moment it was solidified.
Flash forward to Friday, January 18, 2008 the day was long and tiring with preparation for the upcoming South Carolina Presidential Primary. Sometime late in the evening I was approached by a Field Director Nicole Price; she asked what I was doing on Sunday after church. I don’t remember my response but I do remember her asking for my birth date and social security number. With that question, I knew was coming an interesting assignment better than what was originally set for me. Then Senator Obama was flying into South Carolina in preparation for the Primary. Upon receiving clearance from whomever clearance comes, I was told that I would receive instructions later.
On Sunday, I met the head Advance person was handed keys to a rental Caravan got in and drove with the Advance person to the private airport to await the plane. While waiting, I learned that I would be transporting Senior campaign advisors Valerie Jarrett and Robert Gibbs; Trip Director Marvin Nicholson; and Personal Assistant Reggie Love. Yes, I know I said WOW too. The weekend was a whirlwind of activity including driving in a Secret Service motorcade behind a vehicle with men ready and waiting to shoot to kill if need be.
Being able to go backstage and seeing how unglamorous life of a future President can be was a once in a life time experience. Listening and seeing the speech while peeping from behind the black curtain gives a different perspective. Still one of the most amazing moments was driving on the South Carolina State House grounds Monday, January 21, 2008, which was the Dr. King holiday. Walking into the State House through doors, I never knew existed and may never have access to again, to standing next to then Senator Obama. Looking around to see that Dr. Cornel West was in the same space along with the other Presidential candidates and a bevy of Secret Service agents. I regret that I did not have my camera with me nor think to use my cell phone but there is a photograph somewhere that was taken by Reggie Love. However, in my mind is a reel-to-reel film of those events.
Everyone will not have the opportunity to stand next to a future U.S. President or drive in a Secret Service motorcade but everyone has the opportunity to be the best they can be. If you can think it up and if you can dream it then it can be a reality. Whatever the goal and whatever the problem you can attain it or overcome it. Even before my eventful weekend, I knew that great possibilities can happen we just have to be willing to stretch or minds to believe. History happens everyday there are women across the planet who are rising up to take care of their families, working to push through plate glass ceilings. For those who may wonder, I wrote this not to brag but to show that a little brown skinned girl raised in the Lawndale neighborhood on Chicago’s West Side can rise above what is expected. Finally, no matter whose space you share know that anything is possible if you believe.