United States President Barack Obama takes the oath of office for a second term as president next to First Lady Michelle Obama at a swearing in ceremony on Jan 21, the day that Americans also celebrated the national holiday of slain Civil Rights leader the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
By Johnette Jernigan and Kathy Wray Coleman, Cleveland Urban News. Com and The Cleveland Urban News.Com Blog, Ohio's Most Read Online Black Newspaper(www.clevelandurbannews.com)
WASHINGTON, D.C.- Before over a half a million people that took to the nation's capital for inaugural activities on the holiday commemorating the birthday of slain Civil Rights leader the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Democratic President Barack Obama, the first Black president of the United States of America, took the oath of office for a second term yesterday with First Lady Michelle Obama by his side and daughters Malia and Sasha a stone's throw away.
The late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a Civil Rights icon
First children Malia, 14, left, and Sasha, 11, in 2009 at the first inauguration and on Jan 21, to the right, when their father, Barack Obama, took the oath of office for a second term as president. Malia and Sasha are the first Black children to grace the White House on a residential basis and were the youngest since Amy Carter when they arrived in 2009.
Also sitting on the platform bleachers outside of the White House to support America's 44th president in renewing his vows to the American people following a historic reelection in November against Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney were Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Dr. Jill Biden, and the mother and brother of the first lady, among others.
Congressional leaders from both the Democratic and Republican parties were close by too, as was a cast of America's political who's who from around the country, though most were Washington insiders.
"We will defend our people and uphold our values through strength of arms and rule of law," said Obama in taking an oath administered by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, the swing vote that forced the nation's high court to uphold Obama's Affordable Care Act, the president's sweeping healthcare agenda that Congress adopted into law in 2010. "We will show courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully, not because we are naive about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear."
The president's inaugural speech also had a touch of King's equal opportunity thrust and the 1965 Civil Rights march in Selma Alabama.
Obama mentioned Seneca Falls, the influential convention of women's rights issues held in Seneca Falls, NY in 1848. And he talked about the Stonewall Riots, a series of violent demonstrations by gay rights activists in response to a police raid in New York City in 1969.
"We the people, declare today that the most evident of truths__that all of us are created equal__is the star that guides us still, just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, Selma and Stonewall," Obama said.
The president promised to continue strengthening the economy, and enhancing foreign relations. He said that he will bring more closure to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and will educate and protect the nation's children through sound educational policies that strengthen student outcomes and keep children safe at school.
Obama promoted world peace and said that America must set the tone for others to embrace.
"We will support democracy from Asia to Africa, from the Americans to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom," Obama said.
Beyonce performed the Star Spangled Banner for the swearing in ceremony and former American Idol winner turned R&B pop star Kelly Clarkson sang America the Beautiful.
Black members of Congress were on hand too and they made it clear that Obama now has the support of the Congressional Black Caucus, an organization exclusive to Black members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U. S. Senate.
U.S. Rep. Marcia L. Fudge of Ohio (D-11), a Warrensville Hts. Democrat who is also chairperson of the Congressional Black Caucus
"President Barack Obama's election and reelection as the first African-American president signifies the strength of the American democracy and reflects our founding fathers' core principle that 'all men are created equal," said U.S. Rep. Marcia L. Fudge (D-11), a Warrensville Hts Democrat and chairperson of the Congressional Black Caucus whose predominantly Black 11th congressional district includes the east side of Cleveland, Oh. and a small pocket of Akron, a city some 35 miles south of Cleveland "The belief that every American, regardless of race, gender or religion, must have access to equal opportunity was at the heart of Dr, Martin Luther King Jr's 'I Have A Dream' speech. This year marks the 50th anniversary of that speech."
The crowd that lined Pennsylvania Ave in Washington D.C. for the inaugural parade went wild as President and Mrs. Obama strutted their stuff.
The first lady wore a checkered blue designer dress by Thom Browne with knee length designer Black boots and purple leather gloves, the same outfit she sported for the swearing in, and one that drew the attention she is use to drawing with fashion statements that differentiate her from her predecessor first ladies, aside from former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy O'nassis.
The inaugural parade, with a variety of participants but flooded with floats galore, marching bands from around the country, including the 250 piece band from Miami University in Oxford, Oh., and military troops dressed to the nines in uniform, was the finale of public events that followed Obama's swearing in earlier that day.
Flanked by an arcade of security personnel on foot, and in cars, mainly stretch Black limousines, the first couple walked Pennsylvania Ave. before ultimately taking a central seat to get saluted like a King and Queen by parade affiliates, and Blacks performed for them, from drill team steps, to rifle maneuverings, to song and dance, the African-American community was a full part of the festivities.
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama dance during the White House inaugural ball on Jan 21
Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden at the White House inaugural ball on Jan 21.
But the real treat was the White House inaugural ball later in the evening that began with Jennifer Hudson singing a rendition of Al green's 'Last Stay Together' as the first couple took its first dance.
Michelle Obama simmered in a bright red sleeveless designer gown by Jason Wu and she wore a diamond ring by jewelry designer Kimberly McDonald.
The legendary Stevie Wonder did his thing too, and sang several of his R & B hits including his popular tune 'Happy Birthday", a 1981 song that he also wrote and produced that pushes for the MLK holiday to become a reality during a time when ambivalence over it was rampant among mainstream American power brokers and racist politicians.
Some of the stars that helped Obama win reelection got entree to the inaugural festivities too.
Popular Grammy award winning singer and songwriter John Legend attended the star studded events, compliments of the president and first lady.
"The Romney-Ryan team and their policies on women’s
reproductive rights are vastly different than the
president," said Legend. "They want to get into your bedroom and decide if you have access to birth control. Their
economic policy is vastly different from the Obama
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