Sunday, September 7, 2008

Working the Mall Kiosk for Obama

My wife and I put in a 2-hour shift at the Obama Kiosk at the Westfield Mall in Toledo this afternoon. The kiosk is a trial balloon, one of three nationally, to see if this idea has merit. From my short experience I'd say Let it Roll! During that time we had 50 or more people inquire about voting, registration to vote, shirts, buttons, volunteering and Obama issues.

Most were young, but I was especially impressed with a 74-year-old black woman with whom i had a wonderful conversation. Cecilia was the first black woman to graduate from Notre Dame High School here in Toledo. She told me that she was not permitted to go on her senior trip because the hotels where they were going to stay were white-only. Interesting information, to be sure. The principal said to her and her mother, sorry, but Cecilia cannot go along. Period. End of conversation.

It is hard for me to imagine that scenario, but surely there are thousands more stories of segregation and discrimination yet to be told. Someone ought to document them before the people pass on. She also told of her cousin who cooked for the Toledo Club, but was, of course, not able to become a member. Toledo had its own 'Negro' church, St. Benedict, but the I-75 expressway rolled right through it- the only church to be taken for the highway.

She is looking for the opportunity on November 5 and again on January 20, to celebrate the final barrier of racial discrimination to be eliminated. Hopefully for her and for the rest of this nation, she will witness that event.

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