We Take Care of Our Own

Global Grind's Michael Skolnik, reflecting on the Hurricane Sandy recovery effort and Barack Obama's re-election, concludes that a new America is emerging.

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Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Global Grind's Michael Skolnik, reflecting on the Hurricane Sandy recovery effort and Barack Obama's re-election, concludes that a new America is emerging.

She held my hand tightly. Squeezing her pain into my body. Her eyes stared directly into mine and with a deep Jamaican accent, she said to me, "Me can't beg, but I los' everyting ... my house is gon'." We spoke the same language. She needed to say no more. The residents of Far Rockaway, Queens had been devastated by Hurricane Sandy, and this was the sixth day they had been without power, running water or heat. I was leading a group of volunteers at a food and supply distribution center and she was one of the last people to arrive looking for help. For this resilient woman, her house was near the beach and she received eight feet of water and hundreds of pounds of sand inside her home. All she wanted to do was clean up the mess. She wanted nothing else but cleaning supplies. Every store within miles was closed. She didn't want food. She didn't want clothing. She just wanted a broom, Clorox and some cleaning gloves. As I handed over a bucket full of supplies, I held her hand. Looked her in the eyes. And said, 'don't give up, we take care of our own.' She cried. I cried. 

As I wiped the tears from my eyes, it was 2AM. Barack Obama had won a second term in the White House. Our journey together as a nation trying to perfect our union moved forward. But, one thing was very clear from election night. A new America is emerging. While clowns like Bill O'Reilly, Donald Trump and angry white men cling to their racism and profiteering card tricks, the voters let all the jokers know that 2008 wasn't just a once-in-a-lifetime moment, it was the beginning of our movement.  

Read Michael Skolnik's entire piece at the Global Grind.

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