Election Day 2008: Hope in South L.A.
Hope in South L.A.
By Lagan Sebert
VOICEOVER: In South Los Angeles, communities have been plagued by crime and violence for decades. But at polling places in Compton and Watts, there’s hope on election day.
OBAMA SUPPORTER: And, you know, I tear up when I think about it, because finally I think the country’s going to be united. You know, it’s not going to be black and white and Hispanic and Asian; it’s going to be United States of America, just like you said. So I feel good.
VOTER: You know, usually when we come to vote, you walk right in and walk out, there’s nobody here. And this morning, all the polls appear to have lines everywhere. You know. And that’s a good thing.
OBAMA SUPPORTER: I just think that the people are ready for change. That’s my understanding. People are just ready for change. It’s not about black or white. They’re just ready for some change.
REPORTER: Have you seen these kind of lines coming out to vote before?
VOTER: This kind of line? No, not really. It’s pretty long. Yeah, no.
VOTER: Never been this kind of line.
VOTER: No. As I was driving down different parts of the other streets and I’ve seen how long—some are blocks long. Yeah.
REPORTER: Do you all feel like you’re making history today?
VOTER: Well, of course. Don’t you?
VOTER: Rosa Parks sat, like, on a bus so Martin Luther King can ride. And then he said Martin Luther King rides so Obama can run, and that Obama’s running so we all can fly. So, you know, meaning that today, hopefully, a change is going to come.
REPORTER: Have you ever felt that way about a politician before?
VOTER: No. Today is my first day, my first time ever voting.
VOTER: In LA we have a Hispanic mayor. Now we’re fighting for a black president. So that just shows that there’s plenty of opportunities out here. Anything can be done. So, with hard work and determination, anything can be done.
VOTER: Well, I believe that Obama can bring people together. I really do believe in that. I think I see the change even since the election’s been going on, the change in the people, people attitudes and calmness, a calmness coming about. So, yes, I believe he can do a lot, a lot for this city, a lot for the country, and I believe Watts is going to have a big change.
VOTER: But it’s not so much for me, you know, because I’ve basically lived my life. It’s for our coming children, my grandkids and nephews and nieces, and on your kids, whatnot. That’s what really counts.
VOTER: During the Watts Riot, I was, like, three years old. I remember my mother holding me. To get in the house, we had to go through the alley. The National Guard used to be on our front porch.
VOTER: It was like—you know, it kind of felt like what it would be to live in a war zone, say, area as a kid. You know.
VOTER 1: Little bit of change since I’ve been here. Dirt roads and all that when I first came here.
REPORTER: What did you see during the riots?
VOTER 1: Oh, I saw a lot of stuff during the riot. Oh, yeah. I was scared to go home. I was scared to go to sleep at home. Don’t know what was going to happen that night. You know. Yeah, I saw a lot.
VOTER 2: How old is that young man now?
VOTER 1: Ninety-seven.
VOTER 2: That’s alright. That’s beautiful.
REPORTER: And his cousin is 100, next year should be 100.
VOTER 2: That’s beautiful, man. You’re seeing a dream, man. When Dr. King was talking about that, that’s what he was talking about, man. You know, you are seeing the dream, that vision; you are seeing that vision. He keep you around, the big fella up there keeping you around so you can see that.
VOTER 1: That’s right. That’s right.
Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.