Obama friend shares thoughts on inauguration

January 18, 2009 9:25:47 PM PST
As the Barack Obama prepares to become the 44th president of the United States of America, one Chicago woman can say she has shared his journey all the way from the South Side of Chicago to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington.ABC7 spoke Sunday with that woman, Cheryle Jackson, President and CEO of the Chicago Urban League. Jackson reflected night on what she said had been a journey for Obama, the future, and her first encounter with the man who would become president.

"It is very surreal, and [I'm] very proud. It's almost like he is a member of your family, when someone in your family does good," Jackson said.

Jackson met Barack Obama years ago when she was an executive at Amtrak, and she says she knew then he was destined to serve his country in the highest office because he had the passion, the dedication, and one special trait:

"That kind of self-assuredness and confidence when everyone around you and all events point to something different, but you're able to hold steady and know that this is the right course. That has been evident from Barack from the very first day I met him," Jackson said.

She also says the magnitude and the importance of this historic inauguration is a full-circle moment, as she looks back on Barack Obama's journey from the South Side to the White House.

"You look back on the evolution of the American experience, the African-American experience and you wonder how we got over, as a country, to this moment. So, this is the right place to be," said Jackson.

And with Jackson's friend and mentor officially becomes president Tuesday, how will she celebrate the moment?

"This is one of the few and very precious times that you're in the moment and you know it's the moment that the world changes," Jackson said.

Additionally, she said as she looked back on the past couple of months, she was inspired by the song by 'How I Got Over.' It helps her get to this moment she is sharing with the rest of the country.