Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The First Lady

Lauren Bladen-White
Business Manager, FCNL
Guest Blogger

I was excited to come to work today because when I woke up this morning, and saw our future first lady on television, I realized that I know her. She is my mother, she is my cousin, she is my college roommate and she is the fellow parishioner on the pew next to me at church on Sundays.

As a 32-year-old African-American woman, who was born and raised in Richmond,Va, I can honestly say that I was not sure if this day would come in my lifetime. For the first time, I feel like the country in which I live embraces who I am and what I represent. Our future first lady, is young, well-educated, and unapologetically African-American. She is the woman who many young women in this country will now aspire to be.

For the first time in my life, I feel like I am a part of a country that values me as a citizen. I have a renewed sense of purpose, and a commitment to the work that we do at FCNL. I know that what we are doing today will help build a more peaceful world for all of the young African-American women who can now dream of being President tomorrow.


Blogger ultigirl said...

I don't know if this comment will get to Lauren or not, but I wanted to post anyway. Lauren and I were elementary school classmates at John B. Cary school in Richmond, VA, and being friends with her (and others like her) made a huge impact on my perception about what America looks like and what America can be.

At the time we were there, Cary was part of a "model" school experiment that required parental volunteer hours and classes were populated by a lottery system. The lottery was used, in part, to create gender/racial/economic balance in classes. As result, my friends in elementary school represented a rich mixture of students from Arab, Jewish, African-American, Asian, and Caucasian backgrounds. We were steeped in multiculturalism from very early on. This environment coupled perhaps with the naivety of youth meant I never thought to categorize my friends by race. When I later moved to North Carolina in the 5th grade, I was surprised and appalled when a white classmate gave me a hard time for hanging out with another student who was "well, you know, black." Those attitudes were completely outside of my experiences at Cary School.

I am hopeful that now as an assistant professor of political science and international relations at Ole Miss -- a place that has been deeply affected by its desegregation struggles and its recent successful hosting of the first presidential debate, some of those bygone experiences help me to create a more inclusive learning environment for my students. I can't create the engineered equality of classes at Cary School, but I hope to imbue students with some of the hope and vision that influenced me as an elementary school kid.

As a birthright Quaker and a regular supporter of FCNL, I'm so excited to find out that Lauren works there and in her own ways is influencing the direction of America's future. -- Susan Hannah Allen

1:48 PM  

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