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As I walked through the halls of the White House yesterday afternoon, I didn’t quite know what to expect.

Although I had been to the White House before, this was my first time visiting as a businesswoman in my own right.  My dad, a U.S. Congressman from NC, had escorted me twice before, once during the Bush Administration and once in February when President Obama was first elected.

This time, as I approached the White House alone, I had a sense of calm.  Not the calm of a woman that had been there before, but rather, the calm in knowing we are in good hands.

As I entered the Indian Treaty room, I was greeted by dozens of African-American business leaders.  Although many of them were my peers, I still had to pinch myself to believe this was real.  The unanimous sentiment throughout the room was that of pride, confidence and a sense of renewal.

Representative Danny K. Davis began the panel quoting scripture “Where there is no vision, the people will perish.”

Soon after, Valerie Jarrett and Michael Strautmanis, senior advisors for the President, addressed the small group.  As I sat there, something very basic that can only be appreciated from one black person to another dawned on me.  Our leader, the First Lady and their entire cabinet is full of likeable, highly intelligent, but very likeable people. 

The halls of the White House are now filled with people that are not only African-Americans, and all races, but filled with people that are – dare I say – cool?

From the clothes, to the conversations and subtle jokes, everything was very familiar.  The Obama’s have been quoted many times referring to the White House as the “People’s House,” but I must admit that never in a million years did I think our first African-American President and our First Lady would ever be relatable on so many levels.

Some cynics and critics may think this is an act, but at the very core of a person, you know who’s real and who’s not.  At my very core I know without a doubt this is real and I’m just honored to do my part.

-Valeisha Butterfield