Trisha Lurie quoted in the Daily Bruin
Women gather for Obama
Celebrities and supporters of the Democratic candidate unite at Pauley Pavilion for a rally
Monday, October 13, 2008
Trisha Cardoso, 45, and her daughter, Ava Cardoso, 7, sat on the floor of Pauley Pavilion on Sunday afternoon.
Cardoso took pictures of her daughter, who was writing large words on a bright orange sign: “Totally Vote 4 Obama” and “I love Obama.”
Cardoso, an L.A. resident, smiled and said, “It was all her idea.”
The two were waiting for the “Every Woman for Obama” voter registration rally at UCLA to begin, along with hundreds of other rally attendees, many of them women.
Event organizer Barbara Mandel said in a statement that women can make a particular difference in the 2008 presidential election, and she called for greater support for presidential candidate Barack Obama.
Cardoso said the event was the first political rally she and her daughter have attended.
“I’m a mother raising a daughter. It’s important for her to feel her voice matters,” she said.
After she finished her rally sign, Ava said Obama pays attention to special issues such as the environment.
“The environment is a special place because it’s where we live in,” she said.
“What he’s saying to other people is what my mama and I believe in.”
The rally featured appearances by guest speakers and performers such as singer Patti LaBelle, actress Jean Smart from “Samantha Who?” and Los Angeles Clipper and UCLA alumnus Baron Davis, among others.
Smart said she supports Obama because he keeps education a high priority and remains consistent in his beliefs, referring back to his speeches made at the 2008 and 2004 Democratic National Conventions.
Smart also criticized Republican John McCain’s vice-presidential running mate, Sarah Palin, for her world views, lack of experience and lack of curiosity.
“It was a dangerous, insulting decision,” Smart said.
Debra Tetel, 55, from Tarzana, said Obama would make the best president, and she would not want Palin as vice president.
“We need every ounce of effort so we can get him in the White House,” Tetel said.
“We don’t need anyone like Palin. She will put women 200 years behind.”
Other participants said they had difficulty choosing between Obama and former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton early in the campaign season.
Trisha Lurie, 28, from Santa Monica said she was torn between the two Democratic candidates and first voted for Clinton.
Now Lurie said she appreciates how Obama has a section for women’s issues on his official campaign Web site, and he mentions women’s rights in speeches.
“He has really stepped up to include women,” Lurie said.
Some people in the bleachers held signs that said “Hillary Clinton supports Barack Obama.”
Another attendee, Merage Mohammad, a fourth-year molecular, cell and developmental biology student, said the rally was a good opportunity to be around people who support Obama.
Mohammad said he was excited to vote in his first presidential election.
“It’s an election that will make history and really change the country,” he said.
Other students did not hear of the rally until Sunday.
Fifth-year linguistics student Sarah Barbod was on her way to the gym but joined the event, which was aimed at helping to register more female voters for the campaign.
“It’s something different from what we’ve seen,” Barbod said.
She said she supports Obama’s tax plan and believes the economy is an important facet of the campaign.
“I don’t know how I’m going to pay back my student loans,” she said.
Barbod said she believed there was a lot of energy at the rally.
“It gives me excitement for the campaign,” she said.
With reports by Neha Jaganathan, Bruin contributor.
Photo by Kimberly Lajcik