Black History Month – Barack Obama

26 Oct 2020

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” 

We cannot all aspire to be US President.  We can all aspire to strong ethical values and putting those values into practice, even when it arouses public vitriol and personal attacks.  Barack Obama is an inspiring role model for people everywhere.

Coming from neither a moneyed or politically established family, he rose to the leading role in US and many would argue world politics.  I have a personal reason for choosing him as I lived a large portion of my life in Kenya, where Barack’s father was from and where much of his family still lives.

It is easy to sit back and say that change is too difficult to achieve.  Barack shows us that by taking action, by accepting personal responsibility, you inspire others to act and so achieve change.  He also emphasised that real change takes many years and requires each generation to embrace obligations and opportunities.

True democracy is a project that’s much bigger than any one of us.  It’s bigger than any one person, any one president and any one government.  It is a job for all of us.”

It is not enough to admire what he did.  It is our responsibility to carry on the process.  Society is not yet perfect!

He is a man of many firsts including:

  • First African American US President. When he was elected the 44th President of the United States, he won more votes than any candidate in history.
  • First African American President of the Harvard Law Review

Perhaps less well-known than his two terms as President is the fact that he served as a director of the Developing Communities Project where he helped set up job training and college preparatory programmes and fought for tenant rights.  These were not fashionable or popular causes.

And let’s not forget that he is also married to another inspirational black lawyer – Michelle Obama.  You can read James Hall’s homage to her and all the other pieces by members and staff of Hardwicke by clicking here.


This piece has been written by Sally Wollaston and, whilst personal to her, is published as part of Hardwicke’s support of Black History Month.