Nadine Spencer

‘I Live In A House Built By Slaves’ It’s Possible People!

Yesterday, Michelle Obama gave a moving speech at the Democratic National Convention, one of her poignant lines ” I live in a house build by slaves….”  When President Obama became president of the United States, it was indeed a momentous landmark of our times, because not only was the White House built by slaves but in many ways so was our entire Western civilization. As a Jamaican living in the West, I am painfully aware of that history, and of the unjust role many were forced to play in the building of this world. As a person of African descent living in North America, I am heartbreakingly aware that racial tension and violence still exist, and still permeate the very culture of “equality” that is supposed to stand as a beacon of hope and example for the rest of the world. And as a woman living in Canada, I am also aware of the glass ceiling that does still exist, both in the ghettos of developing countries and the highest levels of government and business in countries like Canada and the US.

Yet, as an accomplished Jamaican businesswoman living in Canada, surrounded by people—both men and women—who support me, understand me, and daily fight so that women like me can have equality, I also know what we as a country and as a global community are capable of. Obama’s election, as the first African-American president, was a symbol of that potential—and Hillary Clinton’s election this coming November, as the first female president of the United States of America, will be further evidence that we are moving forward. Even as shots still ring out, we are moving forward. Even as police brutality is met with the violence of angry protestors, we are moving forward. Even as women’s rights are trampled and young ladies are victimized, objectified, and taught that they are lesser, we are moving forward. And we will continue to move forward until, one day, hopefully, sooner than later, we will get there—to a world that, though it was built by slaves, finally has equality, justice, and compassion for all.

So when I hear Michelle Obama speaks as First Lady of the United States of America, yes in a house that WAS built by slaves, I am encouraged that despite all the odds, struggles, hardships, hard work, it’s still possible.  Push on.

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