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Jewel on Her First Time Voting

Friday, May 7th, 2010

“When I was born at D.C. General Hospital 55 years ago, my grandmother looked at me and said that I was precious, so she named me Jewel. I have raised my four kids here and am proud of what we have accomplished. For 23 years, I have worked as a cleaner in the Senate. I cleaned the offices of Senators Clinton, Kennedy, and Obama, and a bunch of the committees.

The first time I ever voted was for Obama and if he runs again, I will vote for a second time.

“You know, Obama’s office was simple, but some of these Senators have offices filled with antiques, fish tanks, and totem polls. A lot of these Senators are so nice to us and let us leave early on the holidays or let us play music in the offices when we are cleaning. Let me tell you about the time I met Senator Kennedy. Lord, it was so embarrassing!

“You know how some people need drugs for a boost, well I need my music. I was playing my music in his office and was in the zone, dancing around. You know what music does to you. Next thing I know, I turn around to see Senator Kennedy, John John, and Caroline there. I ran to turn the music down, but Senator Kennedy was so kind and down to earth. He told me to keep playing my music and was always kind to me after that. Lord, I can tell you stories about some of these other Senators.

“One of the things that really kept me going these years was Obama. He really changed my life. I used to be a shop steward and would say to my people that you need to step up to the plate to make change. You got to do something to make a difference. I have a daughter who is a cop and a son in the military. They are making a difference. In my own way, I am, too. I knew that Obama would make a change for us. At work, I used to wear an Obama T-shirt and my ‘Obama Mama’ hat even though we were not allowed to wear political stuff. You know me, I had to represent. I even have a tree that someone in Obama’s office threw away. I kept is as a way to feel closer to him. I call it my Obama tree.

“People used to tell me, ‘You really think Obama is going to win.’ I said, ‘He is because I am going to vote.’ See, I got baptized as a Jehovah’s Witness 27 years ago because my husband was of the faith. Up until Obama, I made a decision not to vote and put my trust in God, as is instructed by our faith. The first time I ever voted was for Obama and if he runs again, I will vote for a second time. I don’t look for Obama to do everything, but I know that he is going to make a difference.

“I would like to meet President Obama and say, ‘Thank you.’ I saw so many of my black sisters and brothers say that he wouldn’t make it as President. I always believed and said to them, ‘What are you doing? Are you stepping up to the plate? What changes are you making?’ I want to thank the President for doing something. “

Register to vote in D.C.  here.

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