An Open Letter to President Barack Obama


Dear Mr. President;

It’s hard to believe that more than nine years have passed since we stood in the shadow of the US Capitol on a frigid January morning to bear witness to your historic swearing in as our nations’ 44th President.  It was heart breaking to bring a close of your time in the White House. We have now had time to reflect on your time as the leader of the free world. It fills us with an overwhelming sense of pride, gratitude, indebtedness, and thankfulness. Since its very first days, your administration worked, what can only be considered, virtual miracles in restoring the nations’ economic health in the face of the Great Recession. This, despite what seemed to be insurmountable odds obstructing your efforts at every turn.

Mr. President, you represented our country with tremendous distinction, integrity, decency, strength, and ability; all while being constantly maligned, attacked, and insulted personally by your countless detractors.
Indeed, your family’s mantra, “when they go low, we go high” has become a rallying cry as we continue to make our nation more perfect union of which you have spoken on so many occasions. We simply want you to know how much we honor you and lift you up.
We collectively swelled with pride watching you dedicate both the Martin Luther King Memorial and the African American Museum of History and Culture. For us, it represented the culmination of centuries of hope, sacrifice, pain, struggle, and dedication. The American people are clearly grateful for your presidency; and for African Americans, mere words do little to express our deep appreciation. Thank you, Mr. President. You have single-handedly elevated the images and reflections of African Americans men to new heights, worldwide.

We’ve looked on as awe-struck bystanders as you delivered the Affordable Care Act after more than a century of previous failures by past administrations. You forged the passage of the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act for women, reduce the unemployment rate by more than half, and rescued the US automobile industry. You successfully healed long held wounds with Cuba and built a bridge of understanding and cooperation after more than 50 years. You’ve secured a nuclear deal with Iran, making the entire world a safer place for future generations, brought our troops home from war, guided our ascendency as an energy superpower; resulting in a decrease of nearly 50 percent in the price of gas at the pump, and navigated the financial sector’s remarkable comeback as we have seen the DOW climb by more than 300 percent over the course of your presidency.

Thank you for the commutation of the wrongful convictions of hundreds of members of our community for non-violent crimes and removing the federal government from the “for profit” prison business. You delivered justice to Osama bin Laden, championed LGBT equality, pressed for green forms of energy, and led the worlds’ efforts to combat climate change—I could go on and on. With such a stellar list of accomplishments Mr. President, the world will undoubtedly begin to line up to honor you, as I would through this brief and humble submission.
The realization that our students; including those heading to college this year has never known any other president than yourself—is a stark illustration that your presidency has an impact upon the future far beyond anything we can imagine today.

Yes, You Did!!
Alfonzo Porter

Editor’s note: Alfonzo Porter is the Managing Partner of Vertex Learning, a national education consultancy. He teaches Journalism at MSU-Denver and is a former contributing writer with the Washington Post. He is an author,speaker and former public school administrator.