Monthly Archives: January 2009

Day 12 by Dovedot-Inauguration Day

January 20, 2009. The Inauguration of President Obama. It was a momentous day in our history, and I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to be a part of it: a frozen part, but still a part of it.

At 1:45 a.m., on the morning of the Inauguration, I rolled out of bed to the sound of my alarm clock and a wakeup call from the front desk. We clocked in a good hour and a half of sleep and by 2:15 a.m., all of us were packed and on our way to the Branch Ave. Subway Station that would take us to Washington D.C.

Once we arrived at the subway station at 3 a.m., the weather was prime (a brisk 10 degrees) and the crowd had already created a line that snaked into the station.

I decided to run around the parking lot to get my blood flowing, and also because I was so excited to be in D.C., I needed to move. This was an experience of a lifetime and there I was with the rest of the group, about to live and breathe history.

Without a doubt this experience had been magnified by the journey of the Civil Rights tour through the South that we had embarked on for the past ten days. We met and interviewed influential people (Rev. Billy Kyles, Franklin McCain) who took part in and were involved with the Civil Rights events of the 1960’s.

Around 4:30 a.m. we arrived at the subway station in D.C., which also became our entrance to the Inauguration. Huge crowds were already cheering and chanting “Obama” and “Change.” It was phenomenal! Never have I ever seen so many people congregated together for any event, and who were also completely wide-awake and passionate, especially hours before the sun rose. My skin tingled with the excitement and jubilation that I simultaneously shared with the roughly 4 million people there to witness Barack Obama’s Inauguration.

Anthony, Carlos, and I moved quickly to our destination point to be at the parade. We waited and waited…then we waited some more for that fence to open so we could cross Pennsylvania Ave. The clock struck 8 a.m. and the fence was finally opened. We crossed the street with a mass of people, as thousands of army personnel and police officers from around the nation looked on.

I was so relieved to move because we had become popsicles as we stood waiting hour after hour for the gates to open. Unfortunately, we didn’t move early enough. We reached our next crossing point where there was a huge crowd trying to pass through security which created a human roadblock. This was unfortunate because by about that time, I was shaking violently and was told that my skin had become extremely pale. Anthony, a trained paramedic and firefighter, not to mention, our driver and friend, made the decision to leave for an indoor area because he thought that I was about to undergo hypothermia.

One hour later, we finally made it inside where I gratefully drank some hot chocolate. It took about twenty minutes after being inside for my shaking to subside some. We then made the decision to go over to the local tavern to watch the Inauguration Ceremony. This was a great decision because we were able to sit down, warm up, eat, and actually watch President Obama give his speech on a big, flat, plasma, High Definition TV screen, and celebrate with the 4 million people gathered in D.C. I began to tear up watching President Obama give his speech because I was so moved by the change he represents, and because he has excited and inspired the youth of this country, me included.

Personally, one of my favorite moments during the whole day was when I began to clap, which caused others to clap, inside and out of the tavern, and exactly at 12 p.m. I yelled, “Bush is gone!” This caused an eruption of screaming, cheering, and clapping followed by a few tears from the crowd.

It had been an exhilarating and enlightening experience and I am so glad to have taken a part in it.

But…because this experience was so incredible, I am sad that it is over. The friends and memories I made and shared through this Civil Rights Tour can never be taken away, and I hope to experience more great times, adventures, and history-making memories with all these great friends again.

Night and morning.

Nick

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Home Sweet Home

Back in San Jose, things haven’t changed. The light rail picked up where it dropped off and the bus still ran the same course as it did when I left on that January 10th. Although I am glad to be home among familiar surroundings, here, where I know the best place in town to get Chinese food or what joints are open late for midnight snacks. I am home and the circle of my journey is complete. As I relax and kick off my shoes, adjusting to the East and West coast time differences, I reflect on what this experience has meant to me.
First and foremost I am sad, sad that this journey has come to an end and although some rest is highly needed I admit to wishing there was just one more stop along the road.
From Memphis to Washington, D.C. and all the priceless experiences in between I have emerged from this with a new appreciation for life.
I have gained irreplaceable friendships and wonderful memories. I have learned un-teachable lessons and first hand experiences that are few and far between.
My hope now is that I can turn this journey into a story that can be shared with the rest of the world. My wish is that our journey will inspire future generations to chase great things while having a great appreciation for the past that allows us to have the opportunities that stand before us today.
A heartfelt thank you to all who have made this possible and lifelong love and friendship to my trip-mates who have become a new family. This is Bianca deCastro back at home in San Jose.

Crowds at the mall listen to President Obama's speech

Crowds at the mall listen to President Obama's speech


Crowds at the mall cheer for President Obama

Crowds at the mall cheer for President Obama

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Perseverance at It’s Finest

The civil rights movement had many pioneering moments. Amongst those moments was the first lunch counter sit-in. To protest against segregation, four courageous and passionate North Carolina A&T students took initiative, making a huge step toward racial equality. On February 1, 1960, four men David Richmond, Franklin McCain, Ezell Blair Jr. (now known as Jibreel Khazan), and Joseph McNeil sat at a Greensboro, NC Woolworth‘s. Sparking a spirit of non-violent protest within young people everywhere.
Today we had the had the honor and absolute pleasure of meeting one of those audacious men, Franklin McCain.

Memorial of Greensboro Woolworth's sit-in participants at North Carolina A&T University

Memorial of Greensboro Woolworth's sit-in participants at North Carolina A&T University

Upon our participation in a heart-warming march with the members of Shiloh Baptist Church in Mocksville, NC, we attended a celebration in memory of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. There was beautiful song by a neighboring church choir, and inspirational speech given by the legendary Franklin McCain himself. My personal favorite part of the memorial service was singing the Black National Anthem. Singing a song that fills my spirit with pride in my black heritage, and creates a humility that has been felt throughout this trip as we have visited the various civil rights landmarks made my day.

After thanking the Shiloh church members for their kindness and hospitality, we interviewed Mr. McCain. His words were of great wisdom and his spirit was one of consciousness and humility. As he spoke about his experience with the sit-ins, he mentioned that him, and the other three gentlemen involved, stayed up late the night before planning and getting ready for the next day. When he spoke of his feelings as he sat at that lunch counter, he expressed that he wasn’t scared or nervous about the protest because he was too angry.

Nick Dovedot

Franklin McCain speaking at Shiloh Baptist Church in Mocksville, NC. Photo credit: Nick Dovedot

Franklin McCain is a man of great faith and it reflected through many of the things he spoke about. His beliefs, that all men are created equal, and ethics gave him the inner strength to continue his participation in the sit-ins. To prepare for what seemed like a long journey ahead, he knew that remaining silent and keeping in mind the teachings of his heroes, his mother and Gandhi, that he would be okay. “I want to see true democracy and equality in this country.” For that very reason, he was willing to give his life for his principles and beliefs. He was willing to consistently, day after day, remain non-violent and silent while white people poured milk and salt on his hair, burned cigarette butts on his neck and be pushed and shoved. With McCain’s feet grounded in his beliefs of racial and social equality, he was confident that his actions during that time would one day influence great change in the future of America.

“I knew that we would have a black president someday…but I was 99% sure that it would never happen in my lifetime”. McCain is ecstatic about Barack Obama’s presidency. However, he believes that people should not have too many expectations of Obama. “Just because a black man was elected president doesn’t mean that we have to stop.”

I have always been a woman of great faith and I have internalized each and every experience since day one in Memphis. I, much like Franklin McCain, believe in a peaceful world and that we are capable of living hate-free lives. In the Akan language of Ghana, the term Sankofa means to fetch back in order to move forward. In order for us to truly understand our future, we must go back and reflect on the past. McCain spoke on the importance of preserving historical civil rights landmarks by saying that they are symbols of hope. We have to look at not only the brave young men and women who sat at those lunch counters, but the men, women and children who marched, protested, sang, and spoke words of inspiration. Once we look at them, then we can allow ourselves to use them as an example, much like McCain saw Gandhi, who came years before him, as an example for strength, bravery, and passion. Ashe’.

Peace and Blessings,

Angela A. Hughes

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Students go Live on CNN

The CNN newsroom in Atlanta, Georgia.

The CNN newsroom in Atlanta, Georgia.

Atlanta, Georgia — On Friday, January 16  we had a chance to go to the CNN Center in Atlanta, Georgia for a tour of the headquarters and a Live interview with CNN Newsroom’s anchor Kyra Phillips. It was our 15 minutes of fame…we already had been interviewed via telephone by Ms. Phillips, but to actually be on the stage with her was a great feeling and made at least for me at the time, the highlight of my trip. Atlanta is a beautiful city with interesting things to do and the CNN Center was no exception. They gave us a tour from the live newsroom control center to the CNN.com desk at iReport. We went to meetings to plan out our next multimedia packages with CNN producers and meet the head executives of the company from all parts of the country – from New York to the Washington D.C. bureaus and beyond. We were offered and told of internship offers and even entry level jobs for future multimedia labtop correspondent jobs that are focused on minorities getting into their newsroom’s and work side -to-side with top professionals in the business. If this wasn’t what you call a golden opportunity…I don’t know what is. I still need to pinch myself and realize that we are indeed deep into this project and people are expecting not just the best of our work but to make history come alive one photo/video/article at a time.

-Carlos A. Moreno, photojournalist.

>More Photos

a cnn camera area.

a cnn camera area.

San Jose State University journalism student Justin Alegri gets a kiss from CNN anchor Kyra Phillips in the CNN newsroom.

San Jose State University journalism student Justin Alegri gets a kiss from CNN anchor Kyra Phillips in the CNN newsroom.

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Derek Sijder

Melba Salter, 46, from Monrovia, California reflects after copying the quote from Coretta Scott and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s grave site in Atlanta, Georgia on Jan. 16, 2009. Sallter and her family will be in attendance at Washington D.C. for Barack Obama’s inauguration. Photo Credit: Derek Sijder

Derek Sijder

Nesta West, 21, visits the gravesite of Coretta Scott King and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo Credit: Derek Sijder

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Southern Hospitality

Here are some images of people I have met in the South. Throughout the day we are on a tight schedule but I was able to wander away from the group a couple of times and venture out. I love to explore and meet everyday people. I love it when my camera and instincts tell me to take a further look down the street.

Derrick Jones is an aspiring Gospel singer in Birmingham, Alabama. We share the same name and hit it off right away.

Derrick Jones is an aspiring Gospel singer in Birmingham, Alabama. We share the same name and hit it off right away. Photo Credit: Derek Sijder

Albert and Pat of Mrs. B's soul food restaurant in Birmingham, Alabama has some of the finest ribs I have ever had. I will also never forget their peas. Wish I could go back.

Albert and Pat of Mrs. B's soul food restaurant in Birmingham, Alabama has some of the finest ribs I have ever had. I will also never forget their peas. Wish I could go back. Photo credit: Derek Sijder

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Day 7 by Dovedot-A Reflective Day

Last night, all of us on this historical journey got some much needed rest. Most of us clocked in 8 to 9 hours of sleep last night. We haven’t gotten nearly that much sleep since we left San Jose. To say the least, it was simply wonderful.

As the title says, it was a reflective day. I don’t say this because the pools of water leading to the graves of Dr. King and Coretta Scott King were frozen and reflected our images on the ice at the King Center in Atlanta, Georgia. I say this because I felt a connection with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Unless I could invent a time machine to transport me back to history’s past, I would never feel as physically close to Dr. King as I felt today.

As I walked through the King Center, I experienced a rush of emotion and chills throughout my body. This rush of emotion also seemed to contain a virtue of patience, reflecting the patience that Dr. King portrayed throughout his life, and patience we’ve all endured while waiting for Dr. King’s dream to become a reality. I began to tear up while reading one of his speeches. Not only from the words that I was reading, but from the passion emitting behind those words. His words were inspiring, and conveyed a personal touch that felt as if he were speaking directly to me. All in all, this visit to the King Center helped to remind me again, of what a great man Dr. King was, and how fortunate I am to be on this historical journey.

We are now five hours north of Atlanta, and situated in a hotel in Burlington, North Carolina (right outside of Greensboro).

Night and morning.

Nick

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