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Volunteer Highlight

Throughout the African American community, many elderly supporters never thought they would live to see Dr. King’s dream becoming a reality. Mrs. Bennett – soon to be 90 years old on January 19th – was overjoyed to live to see President Obama make history. Not letting age stop her, she knocked on doors, made phone calls, and held house meetings in 2008. Here is a video of her then:

Mrs. Bennett is ready to go again in 2012. We had the chance to sit down with Mrs. Bennett recently to ask her a few questions.

Tell us a little bit about yourself, where are you from and what do you do?

“I was born in a small town, Iva, South Carolina, located in Anderson County and raised on a farm. I attended school, but due to distance and segregation, I didn’t finish high school. I initially found work as a display manager for a women’s clothing store and ultimately retired as supervisor of the study hall at Westside High School. I think I did fairly well even though I didn’t complete high school.”

When did you start supporting President Obama?

“Early in May 2007, I attended a meeting in my apartment building and I learned from a neighbor about Barack Obama running for President. I was advised that the campaign needed some volunteers to make phone calls and walk door-to-door to tell neighbors about him. I was the only one that raised my hand. I felt that if a black man was running for President, I wanted to be involved. The campaign office was walking distance from my apartment building, so I went the next day to volunteer. One of my favorite activities was canvassing the neighborhood and working during the Christmas parade during that year. I like talking face-to-face with people.”

Why do you think it’s important that people get involved with the campaign now 9 months away from the election?

“I think people should get involved because there is too much negative stuff being said about the President. He is doing what he said he was going to do. He gave us the Affordable Health Care Act, he brought our troops home from Iraq, and he got Osama Bin Laden. He should be re-elected to carry out the rest of his plans; it takes time to make things work. When he got into office, he had to start from scratch cleaning up eight years of chaos.”

Which of the President’s accomplishments from the last three years particularly stand out to you? Have any of your friends or family been helped by the President’s actions?

“Bringing the troops home from service is the main thing that I am glad he did. I can’t see having our young men and women killed in foreign lands. All families’ lives have been touched by this. I have almost lived 90 years, and I still don’t agree with sending young people to die in wars.”

What do you hope to see from the President in his next term?

“I would like to see him give more financial aid to the college students to assist with repaying student loans. I don’t understand having to repay loans for 10 years or more just to attend college. My grandchildren have loans that take most of their paycheck. I also would like to see cities with large homeless populations renovate empty buildings for use as shelters and job-training centers. We are the United States; we shouldn’t have so many homeless people.”

How are you going to be involved with the 2012 campaign?

“I will talk to people about the President’s accomplishments and invite people to a house meeting to tell them why we should re-elect President Obama. Mainly, I will help people my age understand that they are not too old to get involved. Not able to walk as much as I did before, but I am able to make phone calls.”

Anything else you’d like to add?

“I have seen a lot of history in my life and never thought I would see a black man as President of the United States. I want to help keep making history. Seeing President Obama win in November will make this old lady very happy.”

Thank you, Mrs. Bennett, for your hard work and continued support. You are definitely an inspiration to us all.

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