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Truly an Obama experience


By Angelita Cruz Bridges,
Special to La Prensa


When my husband, Jonathan Bridges, and I decided to go to the inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama on Jan. 20, 2009, it seemed like it would never get here.  When I look back now, on the inauguration and long before, the presidential campaign seems to have flown by. 

Shown above are: Angelita Cruz Bridges, Anita López, and Cindy Geronimo in D.C.


Just yesterday, we were gathering at the Ohio caucus.  Held at Toledo’s SeaGate Centre in January of 2008, Democrats from across the region came to select their candidate. This, of course, took place before the primary, and was a way for someone to secure their spot as a delegate at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado.


Individuals put their name up for vote and asked those gathered to send them to convention to represent their candidate.  I remember that the room for the president was full, but not overflowing.  At that time, we still had a long way to go. 


Flash forward to the Democratic National Convention, Denver, Colorado, in August of 2008.  Even though I lost my bid to be a Democratic delegate for the president, I was fortunate enough to be able to go to convention as a guest of a statewide delegate – Anita López. 


The Convention was such a surreal experience.  Everywhere we went, there were Democrats excited about the change that loomed before them.  Most believed that the now-President Obama would be the nominee, but there were a few who still held out for his opponent. 


When we finally got to Invesco, everyone felt the energy and knew that we had to win.  So many people coming together, unified, for a common purpose, it was amazing!


Then, Election Day of Nov. 4, 2008 was upon us. After all of our door knocking, postcard writing, phone-call making, and rally planning, the day to vote was here.  Many voted early, which created record-breaking voter turn-out in many precincts. 


That day, I got up before dawn, had breakfast with the Teamsters, and then went to my precincts.  As a Precinct Troubleshooter for the Board of Elections, I was determined to make sure the process ran smoothly and everyone was able to vote.  People were lined up beginning 5:15 a.m., for polls that opened at 6:00 a.m.  They knew that history was in the making. 


Later that night, exhausted from working all day, my husband and I sat on the couch and watched the results and cried when they announced that our president had won.


Finally, inauguration came!  Two million people or more made their way into Washington, DC.  My husband and I woke up very early Friday, January 16, 2009, and made the drive from Toledo to D.C.  We stayed at the historic Mayflower Hotel, where many presidents have stayed and inauguration balls have been held. 


Sunday night, Jan. 18, was the Ohio Gala as well the gala Latino inaugural ball.  All the statewide elected officials were at the former event, including Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, Ohio Treasurer Kevin Boyce, and Chris Redfern (Ohio Democratic Party Chairman).  It was a beautiful affair and even the Ohio State University marching band stopped by to entertain us in the ballroom—OSU was part of the inaugural parade.   


On inauguration day, we got up at 4:00 a.m., left the hotel by 4:45, and were on the metro by 5:00 a.m.  Again, like back in Denver, the excitement was in the air.  People were so happy to be there that they would randomly yell out – OBAMA!  Most were, like myself, unable to stop smiling. 


We made it, and no one can take that away.  What a trip this last year has been.  Now, the real journey for change is just beginning.


Angelita Cruz Bridges, Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, and Jonathan Bridges.





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