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South Carolina: Loreen Myerson

My name is Loreen Myerson. I’m a wife and a mother of two children—an 11-year-old and 6-year-old. We used to live in the San Francisco Bay Area before relocating here to Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. It’s definitely been a very different experience, but we love it. My background is in medical anthropology, but I’ve been privileged enough to be a stay-at-home mom for the past 11 years. I’ve raised my kids teaching them that it’s not enough to go vote on Election Day—you have to volunteer, too. So my kids have been involved in phone banks since before they were born! We all play a part in this democracy, and volunteering for this campaign is how I do my part.

As Charleston's Women's Outreach Coordinator, I've hosted Wednesday night phone banks at my home and Sunday afternoon Women for Obama phone banks at our campaign headquarters. Wednesdays, my husband takes the kids out for a night with dad and our house fills with dedicated supporters. We have an incredible group of women making phone calls there. I’m so excited that there’s a multigenerational reach on this campaign. Every week when I walk into that phone bank, I see grandmothers with their granddaughters, mothers with their daughters, even three generations of women from a single family working to re-elect President Obama. They realize that what they’re doing now is building for the future.

My favorite thing to do as a volunteer is to connect with other women who have felt unable to use their own voices, because I love being able to encourage them to speak out about what they believe in. As an anthropologist, I taught my students about diversity and respect for each other, and those values are reinforced through this campaign. We all have a role to play in this election. It’s easy to take for granted that everyone shares the same progressive values system, but it’s not that simple. This campaign has brought a lot of Democrats out of the woodwork, though, and even in South Carolina, we’re proud to support the President. It’s just incredibly rewarding to help give people the power to get involved and express themselves.

In these final days, I’m going to continue running my phone banks, and I’m going to sign up as many people as possible to volunteer at a staging location, whether that’s making phone calls in Charleston, or heading to North Carolina to help get out the vote. We want to keep people active and happy wherever they are. We have a really positive attitude in our office and we want to maintain that fun environment—that’s what volunteering is all about here!

The biggest challenge of organizing in South Carolina is convincing people to challenge long-held assumptions. A lot of people out here vote Republican even though it’s not in their own interest. The thing is, political values are often passed on through families, so I do my best to teach people to look into the issues and to question how everything works, because these issues matter.

I think the President’s policies have affected me in a million ways, and I have appreciated the fact that President Obama has made the middle class his priority. As a woman, I know he is looking out for my best interest, as far as equal pay and health care go. As a mother, I can look at my children and know that their future is more secure because of his takes on foreign relations and because of his approach to education. I want my kids to be able to go to college and grad school if they want. My own education was made possible, in part, because of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Science Foundation, and I want a president who believes in science and funding research and education. I want my kids to have those same opportunities that I did. And as a medical anthropologist, I’m also a huge supporter of health care for all, so I was thrilled to see the Affordable Care Act passed.

I always remind supporters who aren’t volunteering just how close North Carolina was last time around. The five voters you speak to in a shift at a phone bank could represent another precinct for President Obama. We know that our grassroots method works and we need to inspire everyone possible to vote. And I tell them that it’s fun! I’ve met some great folks through volunteering, and in South Carolina, we Democrats need each other! We are asking President Obama to give us four more years. Is it so much to ask that a volunteer give four more hours?

Join Loreen—commit to volunteer on Election Day.

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