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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

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Women’s spring soccer comes to an end this weekend
Lily GouinApril 19, 2024

Blacks reflect on Obama’s win

In a nation that was ruled by white men for its first 231 years of existence, the election of a black man, Barack Obama, has people excited about change. The black community, especially, feels the power of his election and what it means for them.

“I am excited, proud, overwhelmed. I feel so good about the outcome that it is often difficult to express this in words. I believe the election of President Obama is indeed a giant step forward in this country,” said Markisha Smith, an assistant professor of education at Northern.

Smith, a black woman, said that this change is a long time coming.

“I believe that such individuals as Shirley Chisholm, Jesse Jackson, and Barbara Jordan have tirelessly fought for change for many years. With the election of Obama as president, they are seeing the fruit of their labor, and the harvest is good,” she said.

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Smith added that Obama’s election is making changes for blacks not just in politics, but also in daily life.

“There are parents in African-American households around the country telling their children, for the first time, maybe, that they can indeed be anything they want to be,” Smith said.

Helina Haile, freshman public relations major and member of NMU’s Black Student Union, agreed that this election has brought about unexpected change for the black community. She said that she this election has taken great strides that she is proud of.

“Some Americans say we’re not ready for a black president, but if we’re not ready now, when will we be ready?” Haile asked.

Haile added that when Obama was projected as the winner on election night, she called her mother, who was crying with excitement.

She said that her mother now feels that Haile can do anything she wants – that race will not stand in her way.

Some feel that Obama’s election is proof that the majority of Americans are looking beyond race to the issues. They say that now, no matter what race a person is, if he or she is qualified for a position, they will be elected.

“It expresses a focus not on the man’s skin color, but on the man,” said Ajani Burrell, assistant English graduate teaching assistant.

Burrell believes that people everywhere are now saying that they can achieve any office they want, not simply because Obama proved that a minority can achieve such a high position, but because he showed that anyone can make it if they have the means to do it and beliefs consistent with those of the American people.

“(This election) restores my faith in the American people,” he said. “Not just for the fact that the majority have voted for the non-traditional choice, but because they made the best choice.”

Burrell said this election is just the beginning in altering the norm and Americans shouldn’t stop thinking about change now.

“We need to be aware that this isn’t a time to stop growing and stop moving forward. This is merely a step forward to a fully equal society,” Burrell said.

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