Ethiopian Americans React to Obama’s Victory

Above: Victory party by Obama supporters at La Carbonara
in Washington DC. June 3rd, 2008. Photo: Ethiopians for Obama.

By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, June 4, 2008

New York (Tadias) – Ethiopian Americans across the country welcomed Barack Obama’s claim of the Democratic presidential nomination Tuesday night, most of them contacted by Tadias noting the historical significance of the first African American candidate to lead either major party for the White House.

“By his nomination, Obama made history. It is indeed great to be alive and witness such a revolutionary event. I listened to his powerful and eloquent speech last night at St. Paul and when he announced that he is the nominee for the president of the United States, I spontaneously jumped out of my seat and screamed, completely overtaken by the moment, the historic moment”, said Ayele Bekerie, Assistant Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies at the Africana Studies and Research Center at Cornell University.

“Obama became the first African American to win a nomination for a presidential candidacy from a major party. Obama’s victory is a testimony to America’s greatness. His story and the stories of all those who reach remarkable heights from humble beginnings affirm the possibilities and opportunities of the United States.”

ayele.jpg
Professor Ayele Bekerie. Ithaca,
New York.

“The Ethiopian Americans played, rightly and appropriately, active roles in the campaign and in the political process here in their new country. Many valuable lessons can be drawn from the process: peaceful political participation is a reality and political change can be brought by peaceful means. Furthermore, by participating in the political process here, the Ethiopian Americans will be in a better position to advocate and lobby for desirable change in Ethiopia”, Professor Bekerie added.

“I expect Obama, if elected president, to push for a progressive African agenda. An agenda that seeks transparency and accountability of African leaders. An agenda that empowers the people of Africa. An agenda that promotes genuine economic development. An agenda that emphasizes human rights.”

Bizu, a Business Manager at Rossa Motors in Oakland, California, called Obama’s victory “happiest” moment.

bizu.jpg
Business Manager Bizu, Oakland,
California.

“It was one of the happiest days of my life to see Barak Obama clinching the nomination. I could never have imagined the joy of celebrating this historic moment with my fellow Ethiopians, friends and hard core Obama supporters. No simple thank you expresses my appreciation to the Everett and Jones restaurant for hosting a huge party and for being so generous. They provided free food and drink with all Obama supporters and volunteers. We were chanting and saying the usual slogans throughout the evening”, Bizu said.

“I also met new enthusiastic fellow Ethiopians who want to support in the general election. For the first time in my life, I felt that I am doing something worthwhile. I believe in the American dream and the opportunities and possibilities for a better world. Last night, Obama, proved to all of us how America is indeed a land of possibility for every person who wants to reach higher. His strength and will power made me believe in him more.”

Computer Programmer Mike Endale, 26, from Maryland said it was a dream come true.

mike_new.jpg
Computer Programmer Mike Endale, 26.
Maryland

“It was realization of a dream I had some 16 months ago when Obama first announced his candidacy. It was moving. It was inspiring. It was one of a night. Last night, for the first time in a long time, I learned to believe again. Senator Obama’s win for the nomination is a true testament for the maturity of this nation. It was one of the most inspiring and rewarding journeys I’ve ever been on. I am excited what tomorrow would bring”, he said.

“But what summed it up for me is what I read on one blog: ‘Tomorrow I will go to the African American cemetery outside of Chicago where my great-grandparents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, neighbors, and my mother and father are buried. And I will tell them that they were right — that if we studied hard, worked hard, kept the faith, fought for justice, prayed, that this day would come. And it has.’”

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Stay tuned for more reactions.

9 Responses to “Ethiopian Americans React to Obama’s Victory”


  1. 1 Nolawi Jun 4th, 2008 at 11:05 pm

    AHaha ahhas I am digging this digging this…

    especially the title of Mike Endale and his picture…

    in all excellent article. I also like the style here. No BS Yechalal!

  2. 2 Aida Debakole Jun 5th, 2008 at 12:25 am

    Here is how I felt here in New York. Tuesday night was too electrifying for words. I could not believe that I was actually witnessing history. Americans, of course Democrats, just elected the first black candidate to represent either party in the general election. In short six months, just maybe, who knows, we may have the first African American President. Tuesday night showed to all Americans and specially to us immigrants that make the “melting pot” called America a great place to live that, indeed, the American Dream is alive and well!

  3. 3 Tsedey M. Jun 5th, 2008 at 1:39 am

    Truly amazing feeling! Obama has become the toast of Addis as well, with a huge cross-section of the public either glued to TV or Radio sets to witness part of this historic moment. I commend all the Ethiopian-American Obama supporters and volunteers for an AMAZING job. We need to learn from this experience to help build a better ETHIOPIA!

  4. 4 Addis Ken Jun 6th, 2008 at 11:11 am

    It is truly a historic time to be witnessing! Obama has won the nomination, not only as the first African-American presidential candidate, but the first nominee who refused to accept PAC and Special Interest Group Money. As a result the DNC now has decided to refuse special interest money. The type of grassroots campaign that Obama has led is incredible, and is a template for generations of political aspirants to follow.

  5. 5 Daniel Minas Lessanu Jun 6th, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    First, the big blue (under dogs), winning the Super Bowl, and now Obama wins the nomination over the clinton dynasty!!!!Lets not forget New York has an african-american governor as well for the first time…What a time to be living in Amercia on the east coast,as a proud abesha american and witnessing accomplishment after accomplishment by our brothers and sisters.
    Lets not forget our parents whom whether or not came physically, in so many ways laid the ground work for our generation to strive, struggle, pray, study, and play hard in this great nation of opportunity. It is true what they say keep your eyes on the prize and it will be yours some day. Now we can truely tell our children as examples of so many before us that, “they can truely be anything they want to be as long as they set their minds to it”…Danny from dirty Jerz.

  6. 6 Watch Jun 12th, 2008 at 11:29 am

    Dear Tadias, thank you for posting this article.
    Indeed Obama made history! I want to see him in the White house.

    Peace
    Watch

  7. 7 Love is my religion Nov 8th, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    First, I am sooo glad to witness this historic moment.well i am proud to be an Ethiopian American.America and its people have made me proud by electing OBAMA.

    HISTORY HAS BEEN MADE BY THE ONE AND ONLY OBAMA AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT….

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