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McKnight Statement on President Barack Obama Elementary School

Renaming of Jersey City Pre-K-8 School Honors 44th President of the United States

Assemblywoman Angela V. McKnight (D-Hudson) released the following statement on Friday – the anniversary of President Barack Obama’s 2008 election victory – regarding the successful effort she and her community made to rename Public School 34 to honor Obama:

“Growing up, many African-American children never imagined that they could one day be president. That dream was a luxury not afforded to them, not because they lacked intellect or ambition, but because up until Nov. 4, 2008, they had yet to see an African-American elected president. Perhaps they envisioned themselves in classrooms or boardrooms, but never in the Oval Office or aboard Air Force One.

“That dream is now a reality.

“Many of the children attending President Barack Obama Elementary School have known only a world in which an African-American man led the United States of America. Unlike generations before them, they have no first-hand knowledge of Jim Crow. That knowledge may come from an older family member’s recollection or a chapter in a history book, but regardless of its source, it is the past. For these kids, Barack Obama – the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review and the first African-American president of this nation – is the present. On every day that they enter a school building bearing his name, students at the President Barack Obama Elementary School will aspire to a brighter future.

“Barack Obama’s journey to a two-term presidency that moved the world forward began with three words: ‘Yes we can.’ There is no motto or legacy more fitting for the children of Jersey City, who undoubtedly have big dreams that will change the world.”