My family is living breathing history. My great-great-great grandparents made a daring escape from slavery about which there are books written. My great uncle was a historic civil rights activist who descended from Thomas Jefferson's slaves. My father is an immigrant and a veteran.
Despite having such an American history, I never believed that a person who looked like my family - a black person - would be President of the United States in my lifetime. I did not believe Obama would be that person.
My 21 year-old niece voted in her first presidential election. She will never know a different possibility - a time when only white men could lead this country. Where black people where considered anything less than fully and completely American even though this country was built on our backs and with our blood. My 94 year-old grandmother, our matriarch, who has been the keeper of our family's oral history of slavery and escape is alive to see this moment. My cousin who traveled from the north to the south to be a freedom fighter in the civil rights movement is witnessing this history. My mother who spent days and months volunteering and making phone calls to participate in democracy and help make history is witnessing this moment. My father who fought for the country he chose to become a citizen of has been transformed and electrified by this campaign and he is witnessing this moment.
And I, who began working in presidential campaigns 30 years ago as a teen political junkie who couldn't even vote and who got seriously burned out and cynical towards politics, have been transformed by the candidacy of Barack Obama. I am writing this as I wipe away the tears.
In his acceptance speech Obama again called us to prepare to roll up our sleeves for the work ahead. I am ready to answer that call. I cannot wait to join my fellow Americans to bring change. It will only arrive if we all join in. Will you join President Obama? Will you join me?