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Commentary By Dr. Sheila Newton Moses

News Americas, WASHINGTON, D.C., Fri. Jan. 22, 2021: On January 20, 2021, the United States of America witnessed what is called an attempt at healing- ahealing of the core soul of America.

Putting all politics aside, I firmly believe that: “One person can ignite a fire to bring about real, fundamental changes, not only for this nation, but the world,” said President Joseph Biden, Jr., in an impressive speech, that moved me to reflect upon this great moment of history.

A moment in which, one of our very own, Vice President Kamala Harris, became thefirst female to place her hand on the Bible, to be sworn in as the 46th Vice President of the United Statesof America. A woman first, but also a black woman, a Caribbean woman, a phenomenal woman!

TheCaribbean’s greatest artiste, Jamaica’s Bob Marley, would have been exceedingly proud. I could hear himing, “No woman no cry, no woman no cry.” Our time has come, as we take our place as WOMEN. Whata glorious, empowered and empowering moment this was for me as a Black Caribbean, American,professional woman. Women globally are beaming with pride. Caribbean women all over are sharing hersweet smile of victory – a victory for all of us.

As I ponder upon the vision for America with race relations while watching the handsome men in uniforms, listening to the music, seeing the red courts and observing the salutes, the pride and dignity of it all brings a feeling of hope. Hope for my fellow black people here in America.

For too long, the spirit of our people has been broken. Is this truly our knight in shining armor? What makes him different from any other president? Is forty-six (46) a lucky number? W.E.B. Du Bois, once said: “You see, the core of America’s failure is in its race relationships.”

According to the young, beautiful, brilliant, black poet and Harvard Graduate, Amanda Gorman, “We need to go back to the place where racism can be eradicated from this American society and soul of America.”

Can we truly address racial injustice in this great nation? Is this the vision for this 46th President? Will he, like former President Lincoln, state: “If my name goes down in history let it be for this one thing?”

According to the 46th President, “A nation is only as strong as its spirit.” So too, as a people, can our spirit be strengthened? Does everyone truly matter? Does everyone really have a voice? Will our government listen to the cries of our people, “Black lives matter?”

“The dream of justice can no longer be deferred,” stated President Biden.

But will America truly begin to right the wrong? Can America truly treat black with dignity and respect? Can we start a fresh America?

 “I promise you, I get it,” President Biden has said.

Will there be a delivery this time of America’s promises?

“Democracy is fragile and precious,” posited the 46th president of the United State.

“Precious,” is defined as “highly esteemed, cherished, or of great value.” To heal, America must first acknowledge the suffering of our people. The greatest appeal of the Civil Right Movement is to do the right thing for the cause of justice and freedom everywhere. According to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,:“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

He further warned, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” The idea is that if it matters enough, it will be burning for us to remain silent- if it matters enough, we will not be able to keep silent. Each one must use his/her voice; each one must make their own small change.

Gandhi perfectly declared, “be the change you wish to see in the world.” According to our 46th President, “We all strive for those common elements: opportunity, diversity, security, respect and truth.”

These very elements, my people, are often denied for the fear factor, but they significantly affect every, single, one of us, and thus, must be satisfied. I am reminded of the saying, “He who fears he will suffer, already suffers because he fears” by Michel De Montaigne. These sentiments were reinforced by Winston Churchill when he said, “Fear is a reaction. Courage is a decision” and a nation that forgets its past has no future.”

This brings me to Rev Dr. Silvester Beaman, the President’s friend and confidant, who gave the benediction in prayer at the inauguration, who echoed the feeling of many in a time in history, when so many people, especially Black Americans, are grieving and suffering in a nation, riddled with wretched uncertainties. We must acknowledge sin and seek forgiveness,” he said.

I believe this statement represents the values of this incoming administration. In closing, I reflect on a great woman, Margaret Thatcher, referred to as the, “Iron Woman,” the longest serving Prime Minister of England and also the first woman to ever hold such an office there.

 “America, my friends, is the only country in the world actually founded on liberty,” she once said. “The only one – people went to America to be free.”

The prominent South African, civil right leader, Nelson Mandela, once said: “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”

Can America rise to the occasion for my people, to stamp out systematic and systemic racism, poverty, insecurities, and injustice? According to Nelson Mandela, “the way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”

“I got it,” repeated President Biden.

A Call To Action

I hold fast to poet, Amanda Gorman’s words, from the 2021 Inauguration: “There is always light if only we are brave enough to see it, if only we are brave enough to be it.”

The great Nelson Mandela would have echoed these sentiments while adding: “real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people.”

Will America rise to the occasion to make the wrong right for my people? According to President Biden, he will. The time has come, and justice cannot be deferred.

What truly will be America’s legacy in racial issues? Can this really be the era of redemption? Can America answer the call to our voices in the wind crying for our freedom and dignity?

According to one of America’s greatest presidents, President Barack Obama, “Hope is the bedrock of this nation; the belief that our destiny will not be written for us, but by us.”

One word, according to President Biden, sums up America – that is, POSSIBILITIES.

We, as black Americans must watch, wait, pray and hope.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Dr. Sheila Newton Moses is the founder of the Caribbean Council for Economic Development (CCFED) and a graduate of Columbia University, Saint Peter’s University and Seton Hall University.
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