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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hope, dreams, faith & friends

Today's post was written PP Managing Partner Randall Goldman.

To non-believers, hope, dreams and faith all sound like simplistic remedies to the plight in which we find our country. America is tired, our military is tired, and yes, I’m tired. But yesterday’s inauguration however brought a sigh of relief and proof that these three words are anything but trite. It is a firm belief that tomorrow will be better than today.

Like Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech or Fannie Lou Hamer at the Democratic National Convention in 1964 who spoke of freedom, rights and dignity. These words of hope, dreams and faith were the impetus for “Yes We Can.”

On October 5, 2007, I stood in a courtroom in Atlanta, Georgia to witness 126 people representing 56 nations take the oath of U.S. citizenship. One Frenchman, our Executive Chef Nico Romo, stood among the new U.S. citizens. At the time, we had barely begun our friendship, but I remember how proud he was and how he wept with happiness.

What I would learn about Nico through the course of our friendship only served to endear him to me more: from his apprenticeship in the bowels of the restaurant industry to years of hard work, paying his dues, all to earn the exquisite “right” to wear the chef’s toque. Through my own learning experiences as a growing chef, from the seemingly barbaric teacher that demanded I touch a hot oven to “toughen me up” saved me from burns and pain later, I came to share an understanding with Nico of what it means to be called a chef.

Knowing Nico is also knowing that our country is better for having him as a citizen. I am better for having him in my life and blessed to call him my best friend. On Tuesday, the world witnessed a black man born from a Kansas mother and an African father become the leader of the most powerful country in the world. Today, I reflect upon October 5, 2007 when America opened her arms and welcomed this French chef, this friend. Stories like this make a nation many have died for. The inauguration was a battle cry, a desperate plea and a gasp for new breath. It’s a quest to plant a new generation of Victory Gardens that nourish the right for every man to hold self evident that we are all created equal. The election’s value comes not from the victory of one party over another but for one country’s victory over cynicism. "We are not a collection of blue states or red states we are the United States and until we drop the proclivities of social classifications and labels we will never realize the dream of a United America.” It’s not an America that does for us but the call for us to do for America, to transcend culture, religious and economic barriers. I have a dream of hope; I have a dream of faith for my best friend, my three-year-old son, and my wife of a decade. Tomorrow will be better.

1 comment:

Charles said...

A really inspiring and eloquent message Randall. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. You speak for me and I'm sure many others.
--Chazz Sneed