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UNF's #1 Student-Run News Source

UNF Spinnaker

Making history: Inauguration draws hundreds to UNF Library

Growing up in Kenya, Libran Jirmo never thought he would see a black president of the U.S. in his lifetime.

Facing stereotypes, racism and a lack of freedom every day throughout the majority of his childhood, the senior chemistry major said he dreamed of days similar to this.

For Jirmo, coming to America was always a goal, and with the inauguration of the first black president, he said he now knows it was a decision he will never regret.

“This opens the door to every minority,” he said. “I’m praying for [President Barack Obama] to succeed in this bad economy. It shows how capable we are.”

Jirmo joined more than 200 UNF students, staff and faculty Jan. 20 to watch the historic inauguration in the

Library, while another 100 watched the ceremony with the African American Student Union in the Robinson Center.

Many students were emotional, some even crying, as the new president took the stage at the National Mall on Capitol Hill.

“We just became a lot closer to manifesting the dream of Martin Luther King Jr.,” said Michael Saathoff, student body vice president.

“A huge milestone was accomplished today. I can now look at my niece and nephew and tell them they can be whatever they want.”

The theme of the 44th president’s inaugural speech, delivered to an estimated 2 million people, was a sobering assessment of America and his vision of where he sees himself and the country.

“Today I say to you the challenges we face are real,” Obama said during the speech. “They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time.”

In the face of economic uncertainty, hope hung thick in the air throughout campus as Obama recited the Oath of Office.

“It changes everything,” Student Body President John Barnes said. “Fifty years ago, President Obama wouldn’t be able to vote. Hopefully now we will begin to treat people equally.”

E-mail Josh Salman and James Cannon II at [email protected]

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