Campaign volunteers, 8, have a stake in Obama inauguration

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Though they're only second-graders, Semaja Frazier and Brian Jackson feel a personal stake in the inauguration of the president-elect.

Just about every Saturday between August and Nov. 4, 2008, the two could be found door to door canvassing for then-candidate Barack Obama in Hammond, Ind.

"We helped him win," said Semaja. "I'm excited. Now we're going to Washington to see him be the first black president. I can't wait."


Semaja Frazier, 8, and her cousin Brian Jackson, 8, beside a Barack Obama project in the hallway of their school.

Oh, the two Chicago Public Schools students didn't volunteer on their own. They were dragged at first by grandma Pamela Frazier, who's taking nine family members by bus to next week's swearing-in.


Family matriarch Pamela Frazier on the campaign trail in Hammond, Ind.

But the 8-year-old cousins, students at Chicago International Charter School's Washington Park campus, caught the campaign bug.


Semaja leaves a house in Hammond, Ind. where she has dropped off Obama campaign literature and asked the homeowner to vote for Obama.

"No, I wouldn't rather have been out playing because I don't go outside that much," says Brian, who lives with his mom and sister in Englewood and wants to be a cop.


8-year-old Bryan poses with an Obama lawn sign he just installed for a homeowner in Hammond, Ind.

"It was so, so much fun knocking on people's doors and asking them to vote for Obama. Some people said they didn't know who they were voting for, so we just gave them leaflets and stuff."

And when folks told them they wanted no part of their candidate?

"We'd just thank them anyway," chirped Semaja, who with her mom and sister share a Marquette Park two-flat with Grandma. "And if they said they were voting for Obama, we'd say, 'Congratulations!' "


Semaja checks off which houses the Frazier family has canvassed and which doors are still left to knock on.

Of course, it's not just seeing their candidate get keys to the White House these two are looking forward to. It is a road trip, after all, and there'll be singing and eating out and staying up all night.

But since the odds of ever meeting a president -- black or otherwise -- aren't high, Semaja, who loves to read and write and wants to be a teacher, figured she'd put in her request now.

"I was really, really, really happy when he won because we worked really hard," Semaja said. "Now I just want him to build a library by our house, help people go to good schools, stop the wars, stop the violence in Chicago, and make the world a better place."

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This page contains a single entry by Maudlyne Ihejirika published on February 3, 2009 2:00 PM.

A day to remember: Images from the inauguration of President Obama was the previous entry in this blog.

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