Goodbye, Mr. Obama


Nia Caldwell

Dear President Obama,

At eight years old, stuffed into a horrid polka dot dress and donning messy cornrows adorned with beads at the ends, my crush began with you in a crowded Dallas conference room. At that time, I didn’t know much about your policies or your aptitude as our president, but I knew your skin resembled mine, something I had never seen in a presidential candidate. Unaware of the magnitude of the moment, I saw you from across the room, standing tall and proud. As soon as your signature, stuttering voice ceased booming, your speech finished, my dad quickly prepared me to meet you.

Like a scene out of Exodus, you parted the sea of wealthy donors and rambling press just to greet me and my father. You, the Democratic nominee, walked towards me, and looked at me like I was the most important person in the room. When you approached my dad, smiling that wide toothy smile, my heart melted.

“Hey, Pastor,” you warmly greeted him, and there I was beaming, my face frozen in a bold grin. In a moment I believe was “Love at First Sight”, we locked eyes for an instant. You embraced me in a side hug and after you promised me I could meet your daughters, who I’m obsessed with to this day. Immediately after we posed for a candid. A photo I have hanging in my room today, with a duplicate hanging in a hallway leading up the staircase. My prized possession. One I proudly have posted on my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Also, you probably don’t remember, but you laughed at something I said (see picture). No big deal.

Even now, at 16 years old, without cornrows, excess fat and a bit more opinionated, I am just as awestruck by you as I was in that hope-filled ballroom eight years ago. Except now, you’ve given me so much more to be proud of than just the color of your skin. Not only am I proud of your history-breaking wins, I am proud of your resiliency and career as President.

Your strong family values while being president have shown America a positive black family image, for which I thank you. Your dedication to being a great father while balancing the country’s well being is outstanding. All the times you shared personal stories about raising your daughters resonated with me because it felt like my relationship with my own dad. When you would tell heartfelt stories about your girls in front of the whole world, I was reminded of how my dad tells stories of me in front of our entire church.

 With “My Brother’s Keeper”, an initiative you started to invest time and money into minorities in order help destroy discrimination and build their futures, you have strengthened my trust in the state of black boys in America. I know that my president cares about my two black brothers and is truly interested in whether they succeed.

 When the shooting of Trayvon Martin occurred, I grieved for their unjust deaths, grieved for their families left with no son because of one’s prejudice. What comforted me during this time of sadness was you; your personal monologue that you delivered in front of the whole world. “Trayvon Martin could have been me,” you said with tears in your eyes, “There are very few African-American men in this country who have not had the experience of being followed when they are shopping at a department store. And that includes me.” You emphasized with not only me, who experienced that with my brothers in our local grocery store, but the millions of people hurting across the country.

The way you embraced me that day in Dallas and have connected with me these eight years in office have changed my life forever.


Your biggest fan,

Nia Caldwell