I am a white woman with a line back to England and a smoke signal back to the Choctaw Indians, but let's face it: I'm white.
I was born after the Civil Rights movement, after the laws were changed, when people were forced to look at what they were raised to believe was Right was now considered Wrong. I was born in the era of Blackspoitation movies, of the first TV shows about black people, cast entirely of black people, and watched by all.
I had a Whites Only water fountain in my first elementary school.
I had a mother that played Motown in my house and had black friends that hung out and taught my sister and I how to dance, and I didn't know that people were to be judged by the color of their skin.
I went to college in the whitest state in the union and could count the black kids on both hands - there wasn't a single black woman there. I went to a college that had a confederate flag and mascot, but didn't know that until I arrived on campus with my bags. I wrote to Jesse Jackson and asked for his help in addressing change at my college. I wasn't the only one that wanted change, nor was I the only person that spoke out against hatred and injustice.
I was spat on and had my life threatened; the school changed its flag and mascot and I was no longer ashamed of my college.
I am a white woman that can't begin to understand the sorrows, the pains, and the new joys of being a black American. I've seen the pictures of our past, I've heard the ugly words used to denigrate others because of fear, and all I can do is to feel sorrowful for the sins of the past and do my best to contribute to the betterment of humanity in any capacity that I can.
I cannot fathom the absolute pride and righteous conviction that must be coursing through every proud American with a black heritage, but know this: I have never been more proud to be a fellow American.
I reach my hand out to you, regardless of your color, your race, your sex, your religious affiliation or lack therein, your orientation, your level of education. I feel as if our hands are up in the air, jubilant at the promise our future holds.
I'm no essayist, I'm not any kind of brilliant writer, but I'm feeling - as I'm sure so many of you are right now - like there's nothing that can't be done and that the dark shadows of hatred's past is becoming a distant memory.
I am so proud to be an American. I always have been, because I've always believed in our ideals, but well. Today is an amazing day for humanity all over the world.
And to the rest of the world: You're welcome. ;)