Six busloads of supporters of President Barak Obama left the Little Rock area Monday to witness his inauguration. Supporters came from various parts of the Central Arkansas community.
Planning the trip to Washington, D.C., was planned well in advance of the trek to see the nation’s first African American President be inaugurated in his re-election bid.
There were a significant number of Obama supporters who were gathered in North Little Rock six days earlier when the by the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in North Little Rock and the Arkansas Martin Luther King Jr. Commission held a unity service.
The keynote speaker for the event was Isaac Newton Farris, the nephew of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and he spoke many works about the then-upcoming Jan. 21 inauguration of President Obama. Jan. 21 also marks the official celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Farris said the re-election of President Obama was a significant event in American history. Farris said following the public service mandate of Martin Luther King Day also is a work that calls for social change in the political process.
"We all must vote every time we have a chance," Farris said. "The 2012 election showed promise for the future. History was made. More African Americans turned out to vote for the second time for President Obama than in 2008."
Farris called on attendees of the unity church service to be weary of voting for people just because they are a particular skin color.
"If you don’t remember anything I have said tonight, remember this," Farris said. "The time is over for voting for people because of what they look like. The time is now to vote for people who think like you do."
Farris’ comment brought applause from the audience.
"Let me repeat that one more time," Farris continued. "The time is over for voting for people who look like you. The time is now for voting for people who think like you."
Farris used as an example of voting for 2012 Republican Primary candidate Herman Cain, who is African American. Cain lives in Atlanta, Ga., as does Farris.
"Herman Cain looks like me," Farris said. "I sometimes sit in the Atlanta church in the pew next to Herman Cain. I would not vote for Herman Cain for President."
Farris said if he had to choose between voting for Cain as president or fellow GOP candidate Jon Huntsman of Utah who also ran in the 2012 election, he would have cast his ballot for Huntsman. Huntsman is white.
Farris said he believes the American election system is entering into a change that voters need to know.
"This is very important because we are entering into a new phase in American society," Farris said. "
Farris said the American electorate would be much different in the decades to come because more babies of color in this country were born in 2012 than were white-race babies.
"This was the first time in history," Farris said.
Following this statement, at the unity service, Farris looked at Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor, and said, "For the first time in history Senator Pryor is in the minority in Congress. In essence, in Washington, we have gone from a black caucus being the smallest group in Congress to the white male being the smallest group in Congress."
Farris said efforts were made following the election of America’s first black President to enact in different states tougher voter registration laws.
"You had anti-voting legislation crop up all over the country," Farris said. "The excuses used were trying to keep illegals from voting."
Farris said he didn’t believe the tougher voting laws were aimed at illegals. Rather, to make it harder for some groups to cast their ballots at the polls.
"I have seen illegals commit crimes, sell drugs, but yet I have not yet seen an illegal go into the voting booth and vote. I have not seen that."
Farris said there have been efforts to strike down the voting rights act but the white electorate should not want to see that happen.
"Unfortunately, a lot of White Americans look at the Voting Rights Act as a black law," Farris said. "They don’t see themselves in them. But if you read the law, you will barely find it mentioned black or white. You see majority and minority."
Farris said these laws will eventually protect the voting rights of white Americans as their numbers become less and less of the electorate.
"Twenty years from now when people, maybe 25, when people who look like me, people of color, are the majority, then whites will be the minorities. These laws will protect them."
Farris called for more blacks to be politically designated as Independents and Republicans.