Democracy Prep Witnesses Democracy in Action - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

Eighth graders Monique Grocia, Zyaire Taylor, and Melia Douyon sit at a welcome table for schools attending the Democracy Prep Charter School Inauguration Celebration. (Source: Black Enterprise)

Not everyone can make it to the National Mall in Washington D.C., but those who can’t are making sure that they find a gathering in their own communities. On Harlem, New York’s far east side, more than 5,000 students, teachers and community residents are gathering to watch the inauguration of President Barack Obama. Students of all races are bubbling over with excitement and the adults aren’t too far behind. Steve Wonder’s song “You can feel it all over” is pumping through the speaker at the huge gymnasium while students wave American flags and dance in aisles.

The inauguration will be projected on three huge screens while local residents enjoy entertainment from the Harry S. Truman marching band, the Harlem Youth Marine Corp Color Guard, African Drummers, and pep squads from different schools. The fact that 30 schools from across Manhattan will be joining Democracy Prep thrills Monique Grocia, 13. The eighth grader is excited that other schools is coming together with theirs to commemorate this moment in history. “Our school is motivating us to be the best that we can,” says Grocia who is inspired by a mural at her hospital. “It says Rosa Parks sat so that Martin Luther King Jr. could march, so that Barack Obama could run, so that our children could fly. That is what our school is preparing us to do.”

Lt. Desmond Edmond, 25, attended the event with teens from the Harlem Youth Marine Corp Color Guard, an after school program that teaches teens discipline. “He’s already hit the ground running. He is not going to let congress push him around,” says Edmond, who is excited to witness the first black president. “I sense that Obama is a family man. He has a connection with people.”

Even people without school-age children are joining in so that they can say they experienced the excitement with others.

“I want to be a part of history,” says Arlene Jeanty, 43, an MTA train operator. “I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time. I anticipate that he will bring the country together and give us hope that we can carry on to bigger and better things. Jeanty doesn’t know if her 15 month daughter knows everything that is going on, but she knows that her son feels it is exciting to see someone who looks like him succeed. “It is different for him to hear his mother say you can be all you can be then to see that it is true.”


Marcia A. Wade is a reporter at

Join the Conversation

Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.