Today, I woke up with a dog snuggled as close to my back as she could be without being on top of me and a husband scrolling on his phone for the morning news, memes, whatnot. As soon as it was remotely evident I might have been awake, the dog began army crawling on top of my chest and looked down at me with admiration and adoration.
Four years ago today, I woke up alone in a hotel room in Birmingham, Alabama. I packed my suitcase while I cried. I made plans with my colleagues to meet in the lobby. It was a very different time.
Today, I cried. I cried with relief, joy, hope, and deep sadness for all we’ve lost. I cried with pride as Kamala Harris was sworn in as the first woman vice president, the first Asian vice president, the first Black vice president of the United States of America. And I cried with relief as President Joe Biden was sworn in as President.
Four years ago, I cried. I cried with fear, loathing, concern, and deep sadness for what could happen. Some of my worst fears were realized over those four years, but some, thankfully, did not come to fruition.
Today, I sat in pajamas in my home — my fortress — the place I’ve spent the majority of the last 10 months and watched Joe Biden swear in as the president of the United States of America.
Four years ago, I stood in front of a statue of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I walked past the 16th Street Baptist Church. And I walked into the Birmingham Civil Rights Museum.
Today, I will not go anywhere or see anything outside the four sides of my house. We’re in the middle of a global pandemic and there are no museums or points of interest drawing me in. The inauguration is populated by more National Guard and security personnel than guests of the Capitol.
Four years ago, I dressed in business casual and walked a few blocks to the Birmingham Civil Rights Museum with my co-workers as Donald Trump was sworn in as the president. I spent hours poring over the exhibits, reading and watching speeches of people fighting for equal rights in the 50s and 60s.
Today, I changed my Facebook profile photo to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, the first Black and Asian woman vice president. I changed my cover photo to the incoming first family.
Four years ago, I changed my Facebook profile photo to Barack Obama, the first Black president, and Joe Biden.
Today, I am relieved. We have a lot of work to do. We must continue to hold our elected officials responsible and ensure that they work for us. But today, we celebrate.