Dear President Barack Obama

Dear President Barack Obama,

I just wanted to take this time to personally say thank you. Thank for what you have done for the United States. Thank you for leading with class, even when the odds and some may have been against you. My biggest thanks to you is for reminding us all to dream and to dream big, without limitations.

My Grandmother who has now passed, grew up in rural Mississippi born in 1925. Needless to say, she grew up in some very difficult times for Black Americans. Growing up I always wondered why and how my family ended up in Cleveland, OH. As I got older she would share stories with me bit by bit about her past. One story that really stood out to me was when she was a little girl and black man from her neighborhood was murdered. He was murdered because he was accused of harassing a white woman. The mob that came looking for him went door to door with no luck of finding him. Then they were tipped off that he may be hiding in a nearby small body of water. My Grandmother told me later that night while she was in bed she could hear the screams of the man, as the body of water was lined with gasoline and set on fire and the man was left in there to burn.

My Grandmother then made her way north and ended up in Cleveland, OH. When she first came to Cleveland she was working for a white family where she cleaned floors to make ends meet. She even told me how blacks were not allowed in certain areas of Cleveland, unless they were there to work. My siblings and I, along with our cousin, who is more like our brother, and our parents were raised eight people in a two bedroom house on Cleveland’s east side. She set the tone to work hard and not let our environment hold us back. Her mentality was instilled into our parents and it trickled down to us, her grandchildren. We all have college degrees and our striving to do more.

I tell you these stories so you have a better understanding as to why I say thank you for reminding us to dream without limitations. My Grandmother, growing up where and how she did, could have never imagined seeing a black man as the President of the United States. To her, my parents and myself, you were the first black president, but to my kids you are the first president that they have known, so they don’t know limitations and how far our country has come.

Thank you for being a great starting point for us to build on. I will not touch on political actions, what did and did not occur under your leadership because we all know now that if we set our mind on what we want, we can be the exact change we want to see.

Thank you for eight years of injecting hope into so many people of all races, backgrounds, and religions. We know where to start and now its up to us to make a difference. Your leadership inspired me to be the change I wanted to see, and to help encourage the next generation, so I started a non-profit organization, “Strive To Excel”,  to do just that. My wife, along with two of her childhood friends, Faith Leach and Rachell Carroll started program called “College Knowledge”  geared to encourage a college going atmosphere in rural communities.

While I’m disappointed that I didn’t get to meet you to personally thank you, I’m hopeful that we will meet one day. Although, you did make a few visits to my alma mater, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and each time I wasn’t around to meet you.

Best wishes to you and your beautiful family!



Jawad Williams

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