CHARLOTTE, N.C. - She has been coming to Democratic National Conventions since the New York convention in 1976, the convention which nominated Jimmy Carter. This is her 10th convention. In 1976, she was living in Houston and journeyed to New York to hear a sorority sister give a keynote speech at the convention. That sorority sister was none other than the congresswoman from Texas, Barbara Jordan.
"Listening to Barbara Jordan so inspired me that I plunged fully into politics," Dr. Janell Drone said Sunday as she and two girlfriends arrived in Charlotte from New York City to participate in the 2012 Democratic Convention. None of them are delegates but came to volunteer for the cause of re-electing President Obama.
Drone, 63, earned a doctorate in comparative and international education. She convinced two friends (Diane Oliver and Sherie Harmon-Martin) to get involved this year, and the trio flew into Charlotte fired up and ready to volunteer in a battleground state on behalf of the Obama-Biden ticket.
Following the convention they will hit the ground running in the battleground state of Pennsylvania. A win in Pennsylvania is crucial to the president's re-election hopes.
Based upon past experience, Drone believes there is time and a window of opportunity to sway enough undecided voters to give Obama an opportunity to finish the job he started.
"2008 was a lot of fun," Dr. Drone said. "At the time I was still living in Houston, Texas. I left the Democratic Convention in Denver and took a bus trip to Ohio on Halloween. In that span of time we turned some minds our way, so I know we have enough time to get the votes we need this year."
"It does't take long," she continued, "people are looking for a reason to give their support to President Obama again, and we are here this week to get fortified to go out and carry the successes of this administration to the country."
Drone says she likes the fact that President Obama completed the No Child Left Behind initiative and that he has a strong anti-bullying policy.
"As an educator I can say that President Obama has a substantial education policy," Drone said, her eyes wide open.
Drone's friend Oliver said she felt compelled to come "because this is a historic convention for two reasons, first it will be President Obama's last convention as a candidate and because it will be the first time that a major political party has twice nominated an African American for president.
Sheri Harmon-Martin said, "I didn't want to miss this history. When it is all said and done I can say that I was there, that I tried to make a difference, that I was a part of history."
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