In 1994 while studying at Boston College, I took a class called "Eyes on the Prize". The class chronicled the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Throughout 15 years of education, this class impacted me the most. Selma. SNCC. Birmingham. MLK. Stokely Carmichael. These events and people mattered to me. I couldn't believe that United States citizens were treated this way. I didn't understand it. But it put a fuel inside of me. Civil right and human rights were strangely ingrained in me. I joined Amnesty International. I took countless Black Studies classes. I had found something that mattered.
And no, this wasn't a phase. Fourteen years later my passions have only grown deeper.
Whenever I step into a voting booth, I get a chill down my spine. Politicians are always jabbering about being patriotic. Some folks throw a cute ribbon on the back of their SUVs, while others back any war our government considers in the name of "patriotism". Well, today I felt patriotic. And there was something special about this vote. As I handed my ballot to the volunteer, I realized that I just voted for an African-American for President of the United States. I felt progress. I imagined a country where color no longer mattered. Granted, we're a long way off. But this is another step. And a big one.