Obama Rallies BSU to Keep Maryland Moving Forward
By Brittany Summers
Young and old, white and black, men and women they all came out to witness history as President Barack Obama and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley rallied the Bowie State University community Oct. 7 to get out the vote in the upcoming midterm elections.
What a sight to see as people waited to hear the nation's first African-American president address the crowd of about 7,000 supporters. Lines formed as early as 7 a.m. with shuttles coming to and from Bowie's campus to bring passengers to witness such a remarkable event. With stickers and T-shirts to show their support for the democratic candidates, the campus began to overflow with excitement and anticipation. There were men and women in wheelchairs, children in their mother's arms, students and community members gathered outside to show their support.
With lines going for miles, more supporters arriving, and the sun shining so brightly, some people began to get a bit restless, including about three dozen people who fainted in the unseasonably warm temperatures. This however, was not a problem for many. The excitement was still going after hours of waiting in line and also volunteering.
"This was a great opportunity for me to help the community and give back from the kindness of my heart," said Clifford Pigford, a BSU student and volunteer for the O'Malley campaign. Many other students shared that same idea as they walked around tirelessly passing out stickers, flyers, and voter information to those standing in line.
BSU students really showed up and stood out at this historic event. Junior Kortnie Helm said, "I am so excited! I can't believe that Obama is coming to our school. I will remember this for the rest of my life!"
With the focus being placed on President Obama, security was all around campus. Police officers and secret service agents were all walking the campus to check for suspicious activity to better protect Obama as well as the community. As the event opened, all persons had to go through a security checkpoint. Security personnel searched for heavy metal objects, glass bottles, umbrellas and other items, and those with cameras and cell phones to leave them powered on to check their authenticity.
Groups and organizations also came out to show their support for Obama. The Service Employees International Union Local 500 (SEIU) came out with some of their students to be a part of history. This particular organization came in support of O'Malley because he supports education so strongly and especially early childhood education.
When asked why she thought it was important for the children to experience an event such as this, Beth Myers from SEIU stated, "It is important to expose them to political leadership and to the face of politics. It is also very important for them to see everyday citizens making a difference and getting their voices heard."
Children were of course among the thousands in attendance and this was a great way for them to see that they can be anything they want, even if they want to be the President of the United States. This was a great experience to encourage and motivate them as they continue to grow.