(I couldn't get the captions to line up with the photos, so they're numbered... you'll have to follow along... any suggestions brother?)
1. Walking towards the first entrance point. All the streets downtown were shutdown and people were milling everywhere. There was all this nervous energy buzzing around. There were some early celebrations; people hoping for the best. There was Obama-gear everywhere in sight. If you were in favor of John McCain and you were in Chicago, you kept your mouth shut. It's Obama Land here.
2. Heading into the first checkpoint. Only 70,000 people got tickets to be in the first section and were some of them.
3. Everyone with a ticket was able to bring in one guest. Since the tickets sold out so quickly and so many people were desperate for tickets. Some held up signs asking to be a guest. We had one unclaimed guest spot in our group so we made Jason, who flew in from the Bronx for the day, a very happy man.
4. I was Ashley's buddy!!
5. Night starts to fall... We waited for hours between the first checkpoint and getting into the rally. It was worth it.
6. The whole group from Wheaton in Chicago (plus our new best friends we stood next to for five hours).
7. Me, Lauren, and Trisha. (I'm wearing my Hawaii sweatshirt in solidarity!)
8. President-Elect Obama makes his acceptance speech! I saw him in real life!
At ten o'clock the news flashed across the screen "BARACK OBAMA ELECTED PRESIDENT" and everyone went crazy. There was screaming and jumping and crying. It was actually really powerful to stand there and realize I had just seen something so historic. The realization that for the first time in history, an African American had been elected the President of the United States only sunk in half-way. I was completely speechless for a long time.
The last few days have been great ones to be in Chicago. Everywhere people are celebrating the election of a Chicagoan to the White House (I know, I know, he's Hawaii's own...). Today we were on a field trip to a community art center in Kenwood, which is where his home is and we saw his motorcade drive by. There's a spirit of celebration in the air everywhere and I'm so excited that I can be here for this time. It's truly historic.