Name: Ophelia Marcus-Taylor
Team role: Neighborhood Team Leader, Wake 29 Team
Hometown: New York, New York
Based in: Raleigh, North Carolina
What does a day as a volunteer look like to you?
On a day when we have a big event, whether it’s a phone bank, voter registration drive, or canvass, there’s one team member on point for coordinating. We each take turns as the lead person. First, we head to the office and put everything we need for each station in a box—all the forms, signs, and buttons. Then, we head out to our different locations: Right now we’re covering voter registration booths at two different shopping areas, and we’re canvassing in a few specific neighborhoods. As the new Neighborhood Team Leader, I’ll start overseeing all of the event point people, making sure everyone has what they need.
How did you first come to the campaign?
When I heard President Obama was running back in 2008, I started helping out at phone banks, and I’ve been involved ever since. I believed then and I believe now that he’s someone who’s for all people, not just a select few. For this election, the truth is it’s a very difficult time for the middle class, for people who have worked all their lives and are struggling. In North Carolina, two things that come up a lot are health care and education: Health care matters to everyone and education is the key to our children’s future. President Obama is leading us in the right direction on both of those issues.
What’s your favorite part of your role?
My favorite part is the phone banks. We’ve been doing group phone banks in different team members’ houses, including my own. I like it because we’re all working together—we get to build relationships, share our experience with other volunteers, and get advice that might help with the next phone call.
What’s the most unexpected part of your role?
At first I wasn’t sure that I would like canvassing. You never know who you’re going to get on the other side of the door. But now I really enjoy that face-to-face connection with someone.
It’s always kind of unexpected when you change someone’s mind. I made some calls last week using the online call tool. I spoke to a young man who said he was not going to vote. I thought, “I’m going to take the time to talk to this man.” I talked to him about all the people who struggled and fought to give us this right, and I really encouraged him. And at the end of our conversation, he said he would consider it. It was a good feeling. We’re all in this election together.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself.
I was actually the first female deacon to be ordained at our church. I still serve as a deacon, working with our pastor, other deacons, and a lot of families in our community here in North Carolina.
Get to know the neighborhood team near you—join Dashboard, the campaign’s online organizing platform.