Residents recognize significance of Tuesday’s inauguration

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Maria Briseno, 17, said she didn’t really know how to pack for her trip with 10 classmates to the inauguration. She made sure to pack a map of the metro system subway in Washington D.C.

By Liliana Castillo: CNJ staff writer

Among the millions expected to swarm Washington, D.C., for the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama are a handful of Clovis residents.

Eleven Clovis High School students are attending the historical inauguration as part of the Close Up Program.

Throughout the year, students travel to Washington, D.C., and learn about government through the program, according to program sponsor Darren Kelley.

Maria Briseno is one of the 11 attending the ceremony. Briseno is anxious about the ceremony.

“It’s history. It’s going to be insane. Just to see all those people in one area is crazy,” she said.

Briseno said she is excited about witnessing history, as the first black man is sworn in as president.

“The first of anything is something special. I’m excited to be a part of something that is a wonderful, once in a lifetime opportunity,” the 17-year-old said.

But an inauguration, even a historical one, should be celebrated differently than a Super Bowl, according to Democrat county commissioner Bobby Sandoval.

“It is a big deal. It’s something you want to sit at home and watch because you can’t be there,” he said.

Sandoval said he intends to stay home and watch the inauguration on television, like many area residents he has spoken to.

“Yes, this (inauguration) is historical and it should be celebrated,” he said. “But there are different ways to celebrate.”

The Samaritan House has decided to celebrate by throwing an Inaugural Ball on Tuesday, in conjunction with, a non-profit organization dedicated to what its Web site refers to as people-powered politics. Minister Curtis Brewer, chief executive officer of the Samaritan House, said change is a good thing and should be celebrated.

“We’re excited about the possibility to bring the community together to bring about positive change,” he said.

The Samaritan House is a non-profit organization that provides an eight-month Christian discipleship program for men and women with life controlling issues, such as drug and alcohol addiction.

Brewer, 64, said the historical nature of Obama’s presidency is enough to celebrate. But the change an Obama presidency is expected to bring is another good reason.

“I never thought I would see a black president in my lifetime,” he said. “After all the excitement about Obama, not just in the U.S., but around the world, it’s time to celebrate for what is to come. Irregardless of race, we all want change.”

James McClendon, program director for the Samaritan House, said while he agrees celebration is in order, he stressed that the work of change is not done.

“The job is never done. There are more challenges to face, not just getting (Obama) elected,” he said. “Change is not going to happen overnight.”

Fast Facts

What: Inaugural Ball

When: 4 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Mount Zion Baptist Church at 816 Davis St.

Admission: Free

Information: Minister Curtis Brewer at 219-2738, Jacqueline Knight at 219-2857 or James McClendon at 219-2046

The inauguration of Barack Obama will air live on several TV stations in Clovis beginning at 8 a.m. Tuesday. Obama is scheduled to take the oath of office just before noon in Washington, D.C., which is just before 10 a.m. MST


• NBC KAMR channel 4

• CBS KFDA channel 5

• ABC KVIH channel 7

• CBS KBIM channel 8

• CSPAN channel 10

• FOX KCIT channel 13

• NBC KOBR channell 14

• BET channel 36

• CNBC channel 37

• FOX News FNC channel 44

• CNN channel 54

• MSNBC channel 63

• BET J channel 224

• BBC American channel 230


• ABC KVII channel 43

• NBC KAMR channel 45

• CBS KFDA channel 67

• FOX KCIT channel 47

Inauguration Day festivities include:

• Musical selections by The United States Marine Band followed by The San Francisco Boys Chorus and the San Francisco Girls Chorus

• Call to order and welcoming remarks by Senator Dianne Feinstein

• Invocation by Dr. Rick Warren

• Musical selection by Aretha Franklin

• Vice President-elect Joseph R. Biden, Jr. will be sworn into office by Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, the Honorable John Paul Stevens

• Musical selection by John Williams, composer/arranger with Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Gabriela Montero and Anthony McGill

• President-elect Barack H. Obama will take the Oath of Office, using President Lincoln’s Inaugural Bible, administered by the Chief Justice of the United States, the Honorable John G. Roberts, Jr.

• Inaugural address

• Poem by Elizabeth Alexander

• Benediction by The Reverend Dr. Joseph E. Lowery

• The National Anthem by The United States Navy Band “Sea Chanters”