According to Miami Herald:
A 102-year-old Haitian woman from North Miami, who spent hours in line to early vote last year, will sit with First Lady Michelle Obama for Tuesday’s State of the Union address.
At age 102, it’s possible Desaline Victor is the oldest guest ever to attend a State of the Union address. But the North Miami woman, known as “Granny” among the city’s Haitian community, was chosen less for her age than what she stands for. As a naturalized U.S. citizen who waited for more than three hours to cast her ballot on Nov. 6, say White House officials, Victor represents what President Barack Obama wants to highlight most in his second term. So Victor will sit in the First Lady’s box, along with military families, people who are championing immigration reform, and victims of gun reform.
“I know I’m going to sit with the president’s wife. I did not think I would get here,” she said. “I am proud.”
As an immigrant, former farm worker, and respected elder and minority from one of the poorest parts of South Florida, Victor and others like her stand to benefit most from the policies the president will discuss during his speech, say White House officials. Victor came to the attention of the White House through the Advancement Project, which was tracking problems at the polls after Florida lawmakers cut early voting days.
The White House describes Victor as “a spirited and independent centenarian,” who was born in Haiti in 1910 and arrived in the U.S. in 1989. She enjoys attending church services and cooking her own meals.Victor voted at a library on the first day of early voting when waits were as long as six hours. She stood in line for three hours until some voting rights activists complained that an elderly woman was struggling on her feet. A poll worker asked Victor to return later. She did so, emerging that evening from the building with an “I Voted” sticker.That prompted the crowd to erupt into applause — and encouraged many to wait their turn instead of giving up on voting, the White House said.
“The line was shorter at night,” she said. “I wanted to voted for my guy, my son President Obama.” “She said even if she got dizzy or collapsed on the line, ’This is something I have to do,’” said Philippe Derose, a North Miami Beach councilman who met Victor after her challenges during early voting.
For South Florida, Victor symbolizes thousands who endured long lines during a reduced early voting schedule and on election day. Local activists and observers expect Obama to address voter’s rights during the State of the Union address. During his election night speech Obama said “we have to fix that” in referring to those who waited hours to vote. He echoed a similar sentiment in his inauguration speech. “Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote,” he said. Two Florida House members are also making a political statement with their guests at the State of the Union address. Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston and Lois Frankel of West Palm Beach both invited those impacted by gun violence. – CONTINUE READING HERE