Inauguration 2009: Richmond is happy!

The several hundred folks gathered in Richmond for a live-feed of Barack Obama’s swearing-in act like they have won the lottery.

This is one happy, happy group and I don’t think it is the coffee.

“America won the lottery!” said Jason Allen of Richmond.

Children are waving flags. People are hugging.

A giant television screen dominates the large Richmond Civic Auditorium, the third event in this renovated building.  Outside, work on Richmond’s new city hall is underway.

Two beautiful young ladies shared their chair with me and here is what they have to say about Barack Obama’s presidency:

“I think he is the perfect president and in 2009 we finally have the opportunity to see how things could be and what he could do for our state, and he has to make sure he does all the things he says he is going to,” Lenea Wallace, 13 years old from Richmond.

“It means like he is here to help us, do better in this world and stop the violence, and … no, I don’t want to be president, but I think he can change this world and not let people to be judged by their skin,” said Destiny Williams, 10 years old, of Richmond.

Oh, a loud boo just came from this crowd when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared on the television. I guess he is not so popular in this crowd.

UPDATE: 8:23 a.m.

Don’t tell anybody but I am supposed to be in the office right now. I will be compiling feeds from my talented colleagues who have fanned out all over the East Bay to the numerous inauguration events. But I couldn’t stand it. I had to go where I could I feel and see this day and not just on television.

And I wanted to be in the African-American community, where the swearing-in of the first black president holds such tremendous meaning. I talked with Joe Brown of Richmond. He and I are the same age. He says he never thought he would see a black man as president. I told him I thought I would never live to see a woman president. Joe got his dream and now, perhaps, I will have mine.

Lisa Vorderbrueggen