Blogs » My Turn » We've come so far


I grew up in Vidor, a small town in southeast Texas. The town was all white and was known to be supportive of the Ku Klux Klan. My parents sent me and my brothers and sisters to Catholic school in the larger town of Beaumont, Texas, for as long as they could afford to. With five children in school at one time, I'm sure it was hard on them financially.

We rode a bus each weekday morning to attend school at St. Pius and later, when St. Pius church no longer accepted students from outside of their parish, we went to St. Anthony's for classes.

Once, on our way home from school one afternoon, traffic was halted down Vidor's Main Street. We all looked out the windows of the bus to see what the holdup was. Klan members in fully hooded dress were marching for their "cause." I remember feeling so much shame to be living in a town where such a display of prejudice was allowed or even encouraged.

I was only 11 years old at the time, but thanks to my education, I knew that those men marching on my hometown street did not represent my views.

I believe my parent's wanted us to be able to withstand the ignorance and intolerance of the town we lived in. They wanted us to be armed with the knowledge that color should not be an issue -- that we are all equal in God's eyes. I am so thankful for the sacrifices they made for my education.

Flash forward to today as I sat watching the inauguration for the second term of a black president. Whether you approve of Obama or not, one thing we can all agree on: We've come so far! The fact that a black man was elected not once, but twice speaks volumes about the direction we are going. I hope and pray that in my lifetime I might even see a qualified woman sworn in as president.