CANADIAN GOVERNMENT WAS NOT AWARE OF THE HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE AND RAMIFICATION OF THE FIRST BLACK AMERICAN PRESIDENT VISIT TO CANADA DURING BLACK HISTORY MONTH. WINDSOR & DISTRICT BLACK COALITION (WDBC) HELPED THEM TO REALIZE IT!!!
Windsor and District Black Coalition (WDBC) President Marc Taylor organized a Yes We Can Bus Trip to Ottawa to witness and be a part of this historic occasion. His plans were to bring at least 200 people via coaches to Ottawa. Calls were made to Parliament Hill government organizers to find out what plans they had for the first black president’s visit to Canada during Black History month. To his disappointment he was told that President Barack Obama was not coming to the Parliament building and was only going to stop at the Ottawa airport for a quick visit with the Prime Minister and that there was no plans made for any other stops within Canada. We found this extremely hard to believe and saddened that our government did not realize the significance of this iconic once in a life time occasion.
WDBC made numerous phone calls to various parties in Ottawa explaining the importance of President Barack Obama’s visit to the black community especially during Black History Month. The officials stuck to their original plan of his stopping only at the airport, but our president didn’t stop calling Ottawa! After days & weeks of calling and getting the same answer he did the responsible thing and reluctantly cancelled our Yes we can bus trip to Ottawa. Our 200 plus guest from both sides of the border that wanted to be a part of this historic occasion were extremely disappointed but was happy with our effort. Some even wanted to make the journey to rally at the airports doors to show our appreciation and support of this black man who relit the fire of hope an racial equality.
A week before President Barack Obama’s visit WDBC president received a call notifying him that he will indeed be stopping at Parliament Hill after all and how many people we would bring. This was fantastic news! Calls were made but only 14 guests were able to reschedule and accompany us on this adventure. The night before this historic event our small group was more than outnumbered by well wishers who wanted to, but due to other obligations were not able to join us, but took the time none the less to see us off. With songs and prayers we started our Journey to Ottawa.
WDBC members received red carpet treatment for our role in bringing the importance of this visit to the government attention. We were escorted to our rendezvous point by agents in a beat up red car. We got off the route to get gas, but secret service thought we were lost and send out a car to get us back on track. Alerted by the banging on the SUV passenger side window, our president looked over and saw them, who then flash a badge and asked us to follow them. The Yes We Can Bus Trip members were whisked through police barricades in police shuttle buses to the front of the line.
Drove all night! Yes We Can! Drove all night! Yes We Can! Drove all night! Yes We Can! Drove all night! Yes We Can! We sang and chanted as we waited for his motorcade to arrive.
There was wall to wall, shoulder to shoulder of people and photographers from all over the country and around the world. Radio and television interviews were made, our photos were taken by many as we sang “Drove all night! Yes we can” over and over again. We even made the news channel in China we were later informed… Excitement was definitely in the air. There was drumming, singing, poetry and more in various languages. There was people from all walks of life, colour and ethnic groups. It was a cold but you hardly noticed from all the excitement and energy that you were surrounded by. The noise of the helicopters buzzing overhead were soon silenced by the roar from the crowd when the Presidents motorcade arrived. Who waved, spoke and even strolled through the nearby market. It indeed was a historic moment! We were all glad we were there…
Upon our return to our vehicles that was left behind we discovered they were filled with fuel for our return journey. It was indeed a Historical moment.