First Lady's visit 'fires up' NCCU community
Published: Friday, September 21, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 13:09
On Sept. 19 a line from the corner of the W.G. Pearson Cafeteria to the Alfonso-Elder Student Union formed. People who had arrived as early as 5 a.m., cuddled up in lawn chairs with their friends and families. The visual conjured the infamous “Black Friday” lines.
But the line was not because people were waiting to stock up on sales items. They were waiting to be a part of history.
First Lady Michelle Obama visited N.C. Central University to ‘fire up’ students and supporters for the upcoming election. A crowd of 3,004 people including students, faculty and community members gathered in the McDougald Gymnasium to witness the anticipated event.
After an introduction from Korey Mercer, the First Lady made her entrance to a roaring standing ovation that lasted several minutes.
“You all are pretty fired up and very ready to go,” said Obama.
The beginning of her speech focused on what attracted her to President Barack Obama. Obama said that though he was -- and still is -- “handsome, charming, talented, and oh so smart,” she fell in love with him because of his commitment to helping others.
“I loved that Barack was so devoted to his family, especially the women in his life,” said Obama.
She went on to reveal the struggle her and her husband’s families faced.
A struggle many American families face. Obama said the hardship Barack was exposed to is what shaped him to be the right person to lead America.
“As a president, you have to be driven by the struggles, hopes and dreams of all the people you serve,” said Obama.
She also discussed Barack’s success with issues such as job growth, financial aid and health reform.
“Your president wants all of you to have the skills you need for the jobs of the future,” said Obama.
The crowd continuously showed their enthusiasm for her words by waving blue “Forward” signs and chanting “Four more years.”
Obama urged the crowd to register, volunteer to register others and vote.
To the pleasure of those on the floor, Obama didn’t leave without giving handshakes and hugs.
The First Lady’s appearance was especially significant to psychology senior Courtney Williams. She was celebrating her 22nd birthday.
“She wished me a happy birthday,” said Williams. “I’d stand in line for 10 years to see Michelle.”
The psychology senior said that out of a 10, Obama’s presentation was a 20. Williams called it a once in a lifetime event.
Wilma Daniels from Durham was also extremely pleased.
“She was everything I imagined,” said Daniels. “She’s the epitome of a black mother and wife.”
For Daniels, a single mother of two, a lot is at stake for her in this election. Daniels currently attends the University of Phoenix and relies on financial aid. She said she’s hopeful things will turn out in Obama’s favor because of what he’s done for her.
“Obama has paved the way for me to succeed,” said Daniels.
Dr. Debra Boyd, advisor of Modern Foreign Languages at NCCU, has been waiting five years for the opportunity to see the Obamas in person. An active member of the Democratic Party, until now Boyd never got the chance due to conflicting schedules.
“I’m glad to say I saw the First Lady,” said Boyd.
Boyd said that it is wonderful to see the evolution of a black woman’s role. In the past, black women had to enter the White House from the back door but now there is one in charge. She said that not only is the First Lady an intelligent woman but a beautiful woman.
Boyd hopes that the campaigning will help to mobilize the young age groups.
“Young people are the ones who will be affected,” said Boyd. “It’s important to get young people to vote.”