Hundreds of thousands of people lined Capitol Hill today as President Barack Obama took his second oath of office at the 57th Presidential inauguration. NBC Latino chose three Hispanics out of the masses to ask them what the experience was like for them, and what they are hoping to see happen during the president’s next four years in office.
Miguel Bustos, former policy adviser and Latino liaison to Vice President Al Gore, is now senior vice president, regional servicing director of Wells Fargo in San Francisco, Calif. This was his second presidential inauguration, as he was also at Bill Clinton’s, but he says the same message of hope really rang true.
“It meant the world,” says Bustos about being able to attend the inauguration. “It’s President Obama, and to be there and to witness and to celebrate the inauguration was important to me as a gay Latino.”
He says he enjoyed the president’s message of “one America.”
“I think the most memorable part was seeing the excitement of people around me,” says Bustos hoping that excitement will be mimicked the next four years. “There was a wonderful set of solidarity that only President Obama could bring us.”
Most importantly, Bustos says he hopes to see the economy fixed during the president’s second term.
“It looks like it’s improving, but I think it’s going to take bolder policies and standards so everyone has a chance for prosperity,” says Bustos.
Jessica Priego, owner of JPriego Communications in Chicago, Ill., has been fully enjoying all of the inaugural activities — from the Latino Inaugural 2013 at the Kennedy Center last night, to the inauguration and Inaugural Ball tonight.
“Thousands of Latino faces took over,” says Priego remembering the diverse celebrities who performed last night — her favorite being Rita Moreno and Chita Rivera. “It was just amazing.”
For the inauguration, she says she braved the cold for a few hours, but it was all worth it.
“The speech that [President Obama] gave was far more inclusive and inspirational than I thought it would be,” says Priego. “He did touch on immigration and working together, so I’m pretty excited to see what happens now.”
She says it was through friends and family that she got tickets to attend the events, and she feels very lucky and blessed.
“To see Sonia Sotomayor swear in the vice president was unreal,” says Priego.
Michael Estrella, a filmmaker and photographer from Los Angeles, Calif., says every American should experience a presidential inauguration at least once in a lifetime.
“It’s an amazing spectacle to see the American flags flying,” says Estrella about how his pride was strengthened today. “Hearing Obama’s voice saying, ‘We the people’ and ‘America’ echoing…You don’t get that from television. When you are there, you feel that vibrancy.”
He says he also enjoyed hearing the voices of everyone around him.
“You feel their emotion coming out, and you hear them applaud certain statements that are kind of universal,” says Estrella. “It’s nice to hear that around you — people supporting that everyone is created equally. It’s nice to be in that presence.”
As far as the next four years, he says he’s hoping for continued unification.
“If we don’t get that, it will be very very detrimental,” says Estrella who makes sure to mention that the inauguration is free to everyone. “It’s something you should do if you consider yourself an American.”