Monday, January 19, 2009

Inauguration Interlude (3)

Two who were at yesterday's concert

The photograph above, taken taken yesterday, January 18, at the concert, was my favorite. The boy in the red and gray coat atop his father's shoulders occasionally waved a flag. The girl in the foreground is wearing a prophetic hat. As I mentioned in my first "interlude": it seemed to me there were a lot of people of color strolling down Pennsylvania Avenue on Saturday. The same seemed to be the case at the concert.

Today, in the special inauguration issue of Newsweek, I read some interesting tidbits, such as:"[A]n expert in Hispanic demography noted that 50,000 Hispanics turn 18 every month, and two thirds of Hispanics are younger than 45...Demographer Bill Frey of the Brookings
Institution has maps that show that Hispanics and immigrants are now living in almost every county in the country."


"We are heading toward a day when the people who are considered minorities will, taken together, account for a majority of the U.S. population."

I'd like to think that a meaningful countdown towards that day begins tomorrow.

I'm reminded of the ending of Francisco X. Alarcón's poem, "Letter to America":

en la cara
tu futuro

our faces
your future


And what about the concert? In some ways, it reminded me a well-commented poetry reading.
In other words, the pattern went something like this: a speaker would be introduced to say a few words about a particular theme, and a singer would follow with a song that seemed
somehow related to the stated theme. I enjoyed the speakers as much as the singers. I won't do justice trying to render highlights, but I was especially taken with Denzel Washington and Samuel L. Jackson among the speakers, and Usher (accompanied by Stevie Wonder, performing "Higher Ground) and U 2 among the singers. But really, they were all great.

And listening to Obama.


The other thing I might say at this point is that I'm physically tired. We walked to the concert (it took about an hour) and then stood the whole time while there, and then walked back, via Georgetown. But being physically present among so many fellow walkers and concert goers seemed sustaining.

Tomorrow promises to be more of the same. It's 10:30 PM and we'll be hitting the pavement tomorrow at 7 AM to see how close we can get for an 11:30 AM start. Estimates of a projected crowd fluctuate between 1 and 2 million.

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