Pamela Frazier and her family are traveling to Washington, D.C. for the inauguration of America's first black president.
For weeks now, Frazier family matriarch Pamela Frazier has been counting
money in the bank, ticking off bus, hotel, food and souvenirs.
Most everyone's going to the inauguration of America's first black president
-- among the Frazier family of Marquette Park, that is.
"It's costing me about $5,000," says Pamela, beaming with pride.
"I believe in Obama.
"I believe he is a good example of people who can do and go anywhere they
want to go. He is a good example of where he came from. He came from a
single family home. I did too. He came from not being raised by his dad. I
So she's taking eight other members of her family on "A Road Trip to the
White House," a three-day event by a South Side tour operator that involves
spending Jan. 19 on a bus to D.C., Jan. 20 on the National Mall and Jan. 21
on the bus home.
There's daughters Lataunya Frazier, 38, and Marquita Wright, 28.
Going are Lataunya's kids, Ryaan Frazier, 17, and Semaja Frazier, 8.
Going, too, are Marquita's children-- Asia Wright, 12, and Bryan Jackson, 8.
And although Pamela's oldest son, Michael Frazier Jr., can't go, Pamela is
taking his sons, Michael III, 16, and Mylon, 13.
"I'm taking my children and my grandchildren to have them be a part of
history, to inspire them to go and be anything that they think they want to
be," Pamela says.
"Barack is such a role model, especially for the teenage boys. These are
high school kids. I just believe that they need to understand, need to
believe, that if he can do it, it's possible for them -- especially with him
being from Chicago, from the South Side, right here in the 'hood."
Pamela, who grew up in Robert Taylor Homes, has seen both sides of the
American Dream. Afflicted by drugs in her youth, then lacking a college
education, she endured her share of trouble and struggle.
"I got married straight out of high school, had my first child two years
later. I worked clerical jobs for a long time," she says.
But Pamela persevered.
She raised her kids in Hyde Park and Englewood, both married and as a single
parent, then found love a second time, and her life's mission in addictions
"I've got 20 years of recovery myself," says Pamela, who has owned her own
home -- the Frazier family two-flat -- for 10 years.
She opened her own recovery home, N' the Spirit Transformation Living
Center, in 2003, and has been a counselor at Chicago's Women's Treatment
Center about 20 years.
She was an Obama volunteer, dragging family members with her.
"We're excited," Pamela says.
"I've begged and borrowed to get enough money to take everyone. We don't
have tickets to anything, but that's OK. We're going to be there, soaking in
the energy. We're going to be there at the swearing-in of our first