Just two weeks ago I received instruction to cover the Millions More Movement for the Capital Outlook. I knew that this assignment would be huge, but I never realized how immense the impact of the actual event would have on my life.
The trip itself was a long ride. I remember someone saying, “it doesn’t matter how we get there, as long as we get there,” and that kept me motivated.
I was slightly apprehensive the night before the event. I was nervous, yet anxious. Scared, yet fearless. Honored, yet with a feeling of unworthiness to be in the presence of such greats.
I would be standing in a place where Martin Luther King Jr. stood, where the Rev. Jesse Jackson spoke and where Minister Louis Farrakhan taught. I would be there.
The day of the actual gathering, I was ready. The overall spirit was positive and pure. Blacks, latinos, youth, elderly, Christians, Muslims, mothers, fathers, children, they were all in attendance. It was simply beautiful.
Being a young woman from Panama City I haven’t seen too many celebrities in my lifetime and I was originally starstruck at this event.
After I saw and spoke with rapper Jim Jones of the Diplomats and rapper Styles P, I called my mother almost instantly saying, “Mama, guess who I just met!”
I noticed with each figure, Tavis Smiley, Cornel West, Al Sharpton, weren’t just men with a famous name, but were men with so much to say.
Jackson was my favorite. He was soft spoken, yet his words were loud. When I realized I had found my way near him, I gently tapped Jackson ‘s forearm.
“Excuse me Mr. Jackson. My name is Stephanie Lambert from Tallahassee, and I was wondering if I could just shake your hand?” I asked timidly. He laughed so hard I thought I saw all of his teeth.
Farrakhan’s speech made me ponder issues that had never crossed my mind. It was interesting how he touched issues in our society that we stand or live by on a daily basis and never question or discuss. I witnessed the true process of inspiration.
In the end, if I were to mute all the speeches, and erase the speakers, but only had the mass of people standing from the White House to the Lincoln Memorial, I would have been just as content.
“I am here,” I whispered. I stood where King stood, where Jackson spoke, where Farrakhan taught. I was there. I was a part of history, and I was one in nearly a million.
Stephanie Lambert is a senior magazine production student from Panama City. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org