On Sunday 9th November 2008, a cross section of the Sierra Leone community here in Minnesota, Joined me and my family to carry out the traditional naming rites of our son Sheku Kemo Sheriff, who was born on October 23rd 2008 at St. John's Hospital in Saint Paul, the capital city of the great state of Minnesota.
The ceremony was carried out in accordance to the Islamic traditional rites for the naming of a male child, involving the sacrifice of a ram. Though he is born an American citizen, we intend to raise him to value both his American and African heritages.
We are extremely thankful to all those who took time of their busy schedules to join us in celebrating his birth and are especially grateful to those who helped us plan and implement the event. The value of kinship is made more meaningful when we all come together to celebrate such momentous events. I am especially grateful to Karmoh Lamin Jabbie for leading us through the religious rites and my family and friends for the good food. May God continue to bless you all in your singular endeavors and may our homeland Sierra Leone one day rise from the depths to which it has sunk. Sheku Kemo is the only son of Maria Philip and Sheku Sheriff.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Tuesday November 4th 2008 will go down in history as the seismic day that America decided to turn its back on its sorry past, and embraced the future with one loud and resounding cry, CHANGE!!!!.
On this day, at exactly 10pm central time, most of the major networks announced Barack Obama as the newly elected, 44th President of the United States of America. After hearing earlier that night that Obama had carried the great state of Ohio, I had already started celebrating, secure in the knowledge that the final nail in the McCain-Palin coffin had been firmly struck. Barack Obama in January 2009 will becomes the first African American president of the greatest nation on earth, and the only ever black president in the West.
To truly appreciate the significance of this event, one only needs to look at the history of the black man in this country. Our black forefathers were stolen from Africa, bound in chains and brought to slave in the cotton and cane plantations of the Americas and Europe. Millions died at Sea and those that survived the Atlantic crossing endured the rest of their lives in bondage and suffering, working in fields all their lives, without pay, scant food and cramped into horrible spaces.
Black slaves were systematically dehumanized, their children and dignity taken away from them. For hundreds of years, slavery was institutionalized and rationalized. Such human degradation was rationalized by essentially assuming that blacks were subhuman, just because their skin happened to be of a different color. It took a bloody civil war in America for slaves to be free and took years and the lives of many civil right leaders like Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, among many others, for blacks to slowly be accorded all the rights that were their due as citizens of this vast country. The journey from slavery to leadership has therefore been slow and costly for the black people as a race, and they therefore need to be proud of November 4th 2008 and the rest of America with them.
Barack Obama is taking over the mantle of leadership at a time when the country is in an economic quagmire, but by the grace of God and all those who have been before him, he will surely succeed. He has the vision and insightfulness that is the hallmark of great leaders, combined with a tremendous calmness of spirit that will propel him to higher heights. I am humble and thankful to my creator for having given me the opportunity to be alive to witness this momentous event. We will continue to pray so that he can find a way to end the wars we are in and resuscitate this economy. The middle class and poor that have taken such a pounding over the past 8 years will once again walk with a spring in their steps, smile on their lips and joy in their hearts.