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Inauguration celebration with A Touch A’ Class

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Minutes before the change in power at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. at 9:00 a.m. Tuesday, a crowd of people gathered at A Touch A’ Class on the corner of Stockton Blvd. and 14th Avenue. People were enthusiastically watching the flat screen TV’s, and at 9 a.m. a few collectively said, "the Government is ours."

Amidst the diverse crowd, a sense of pride emanated from the dozens filling the bar. The historic moment was shared by young and old as everyone in the bar glued their eyes to one of the screens, cheering, hugging, and crying.

Party organizer Sandi Burden-Bradley felt exceptionally proud and politically moved for the first time in her thirty years of voting. "I’m on top of the world," she said. "It’s our inauguration. We all were sworn in today."

When Burden-Bradley shared her main hope for this new presidency, she was both positive and realistic.

"I hope that we keep up momentum, because the president can’t do it by himself. He needs all of us," she said. "We have to keep the grassroots movement together. It’s going to be difficult, but it’s not impossible."

When guest Cheryl Williams walked into the bar she immediately and unexpectedly began to cry. "My eyes filled with tears when I began to think of my grandmother and all she went through," she said.

Williams reflected on pre-1964 segregated America, where even in theaters African-Americans were relegated to the balconies while white citizens sat below. Her greatest hope now is that all the races will finally come together.

"I hope that we do go forward, don’t go backwards," she said.

How did she feel after watching the first African-American being sworn into the presidency? "It’s just like a dream," she said. "I feel very happy today."

54-year-old Gregory Bradley, Sr., reflected on what Obama’s inauguration meant to him. "It means that change has come. A black man is the President," he said. "It means that we can do anything. Obama can inspire world peace, and he brings hope that our youth can do anything."

Bradley’s was proudly wearing these sentiments on his shirt, literally. "A buddy of mine made it. It’s the only one of its kind," he said about his unique Obama t-shirt.

22-year-old Cosumnes River College student Brad Clark shared how Obama’s election inspired him to achieve his dream of becoming a firefighter. "This is a great moment for me right now," he said. "It’s the first time I’ve ever voted, and the very first time, I voted for a black man. And now that man is President."

Kim Bradley actually received an invitation to the inauguration as a result of her campaign efforts for the President, but instead chose A Touch A’ Class. Nevertheless, her enthusiasm was undaunted. "It’s a thrill," she said. "Just the enthusiasm of the entire thing. This is just awesome."

Bradley said that she had originally thought her ticket was a fake. "Then I saw Barbara Walters on television with one, and I thought, ‘Oh my God’," she said. "I had my plane and room booked, but I still don’t know if I would have gotten a seat. It is so cold there, too."

Barack Obama’s first speech as President produced a round of cheers and applause, and even a few tears. "It was a good speech, up there with Dr. Martin Luther King’s," said Clark, "and it will be remembered for a long time."

"This is the only [inauguration speech] I’ve ever listened to," said Bradley. "I listened to every word. It gave me chills."

How did you celebrate inauguration day? Did you go anywhere special?

This article was written in collaboration by Jonathan Mendick and Sarah Payne.


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