Young Obama supporters remain 'cautiously hopeful' - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Young Obama supporters remain 'cautiously hopeful'

By Leland Kim - bio | email

MANO (KHNL) - An historic election wraps up in Hawaii and across the nation. From the mayoral races on Kauai , the Big Island and Oahu to the president of the United States. An incredible evening for Hawaii and its voters.

Now on this day after historic election, people are looking ahead to see how the Obama Administration will take shape.

The key words are "cautiously hopeful."

While they're happy their candidate won, they realize Obama has a long road ahead of him to do what he says he plans to do for the U.S.

President elect Barack Obama's historic victory signals renewed hope for his supporters across the country, especially young voters.

"The results of this election has helped me to become a little more hopeful in that it showed the capacity of this nation to rally together," said college student Keenan Tydingco.

In Amy Madsen's class at UH Manoa, that hope is tempered by a dose of reality.

"Just because we have this new president who is African-American, does not eliminate racism itself," said Madsen.

A beginning that includes women,

"I wanted someone who was pro choice and who was going to support contraceptive rights," said college student Courtney Pierce. "So for me that was the deciding factor."

Gays,

"I'm really pleased that I'm able to connect with that kind of enthusiasm that Clinton's election generated in the '90s," said Reid Uratani, a college student.

And different ethnic groups.

"I think they're able to really relate to him and say, he's mixed too," said Samantha Nakamoto, another college student.  "He's mixed like us. And he understands like us."

"What resonated the most for me with Obama was looking at his campaign, a model for what people can do when they work together," said college student Jonathan Larson.

This generation grew up in a post-civil rights era, so they have a different relationship with race than their parents' generation.

"They're not post racial because they understand that race exists, but they're really emphasizing the issue of being post-racist which is this idea of trying not to negatively portray someone or assume a negative racial stereotype before you actually have a chance to have a conversation or dialogue," said Ethnic studies professor Pensri Ho.

So Obama's victory is not only a political shift, but a shift in consciousness for these students.

"It really gives me hope for our country and I won't be ashamed to say I'm an American if I go to another country because they won't associate me with Bush, they'll associate me with Obama," said college student Gerry Cyr.  "It'll be a lot better feeling to say I'm an American and not be ashamed of that."

And naturally, Obama's victory also resonates with people of color.

The NAACP says it gives many renewed hope and confidence that they can achieve.

"But in addition to that renewed hope, it also gives them a greater sense of responsibility," said Alphonso Braggs, Hawaii NAACP President.  "Because along with this historic achievement, there's a renewed responsibility that we now can no longer use the excuse that the glass ceiling exists. It has been broken."

Braggs adds, Obama's multi-cultural background gives him a distinct advantage of being able to relate to people of many different backgrounds.

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