Leaders of Bloomington’s African-American community said they believe the impact of Barack Obama’s inauguration will be felt not only in south-central Indiana, but across the country as well.
Indiana University Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs Edwin Marshall said he believes President-elect Obama’s high visibility will change many attitudes towards African Americans.
“His presence, his visibility, his interaction with foreign nations is going to give people a different point of reference,” Marshall said.
Bloomington Safe and Civil City Director Beverly Calendar-Anderson said the image of African Americans Obama portrays will be reinforced by the public’s constant exposure to the President.
“When you see the President every day, it becomes the norm,” Calendar-Anderson said.
Marshall believes The President-elect is focused on all levels of education, including the affordability of college. However, he said what is unique is Obama’s focus on building human capital.
“The fact that we need to look at the future of our children and be able to give them the proper foundations, the educational foundations, the health foundations, that’s going to allow them to participate fully in this society,” Marshall explained.
Marshall and Calendar-Anderson said even with the swearing-in of the country’s first African-American President, the country and the state of Indiana still have a lot of work to do when it comes to combating racism.