According to CNN's Don Lemmon, the young men of Urban Prep Academy - the first all boys public charter high school in Chicago and the country - are "Little Obamas." Twenty of the school's "Little Obamas" traveled to Washington to witness the inauguration and participate in the People's Inauguration, hosted by The Stafford Foundation. One of the students, Andrew Murphy, class of 2010, shares his thoughts:
Being here in Washington D.C. to witness the inauguration of Barack Obama has filled me with optimism for the next four years. My time in D.C. has shown me that we Americans are capable of looking past our ethnic differences to work for the good of all people. Mr. Obama's election proves that this country can outgrow its history of racial discrimination to become a land filled with liberty and justice for all. Four years from now, when President Obama is nearing the end of his first term in office, I will be approaching my fourth year in college. I hope the world that awaits me then is better than the one I see before me today. Mr. Obama inspires hope that the world I am preparing to inherit will, in fact, outshine the current version.
Being among the millions of Americans traveling to the nation's capital to witness this historic event has filled me with a sense of pride and importance that I have never known before. As a young African-American man who lives in an urban community, I have never been in such close quarters with people of so many different races, creeds and colors. Walking the streets of Washington, I have spoken to, laughed with and hugged people from completely different backgrounds, and I have realized that inside we are all the same. We have the same fears and desires and dreams. We all want to live in a better country and better world; and we have chosen Barack Obama to lead the way.
Most importantly, Barack Obama has shown me that hard work and dedication are rewarded, provided that we are determined to reach our goals and never succumb in the face of any obstacles. He has shown me that it is okay to dream bigger, bolder and brighter dreams than seem immediately possible. Barack Obama's mission and message remind me of the ideals that I learn each day when I enter Urban Prep. I am excited to be in Washington D.C., witnessing such an important historical event. I am sure that this will be a moment that will change my life forever. When I return home, I will return as a new man with the passion to succeed like never before."