To this day I can still remember the look in his eyes, the tears rolled down his face as his words trembled; I had never before witnessed a grown man cry.
I have always known I wanted to do something with my life, something big. I’ve dreamed about being the president and who I would cast out of the country first. I wanted to be a person that made everyone proud. I didn’t realize that I had so many people rooting for me.
The year I went off to college was the best year of my life. There were parties every night, more liquor than anyone could ask for, and the best part of it all, boys, Southern boys. Even though temptation was always present, I never lost my focus; I was at school to learn. Most students hung out all night and rarely attended class. They came to school to party and took for granted the opportunities that they had been given.
One night a party got out of hand and a fight broke out; a few shots were fired, and a student died. The pastor of our school held a prayer later that night and he told us of his struggles and the struggles of our ancestors who would be turning in their graves at our behavior. He cried before us like a man with a broken heart and lost hope. His speech grew painful and cut deeply. After that night he expressed his disappointment and shame in those students constantly, but it wasn’t until the day I walked into a restaurant that I realized what Pastor Batie was trying to tell us. I had an entire race counting on me.
I walked into the restaurant after class wearing a jacket with my college logo on the front. My waitress was an older black woman who looked tired from being on her feet all day. She looked at my jacket and asked me what I was studying. I told her I was studying Political Science and that I eventually want to become a lawyer. Her eyes started to tear up and she smiled the biggest smile, “Honey, I wish you all the best and thank you,” she said. I began to get more and more reactions like that whenever I mentioned becoming a lawyer. I feel a little pressured but I also feel honored to know that I’m not just doing this for me, I am doing this for my race. I believe in making my people proud.