On November 2nd, 2007, Cynthia celebrated her birthday by making her first contribution to the Obama campaign.
"I like to give gifts on my birthday," she explains. "And I was going to be 44, and he was going to be the 44th President. I decided in order to make change, I needed to do something proactive. That was the first time I'd ever done it, and I knew he was the person to help make that change for me. He's everything I stand for, and it just felt good to think that here in the United States we had a woman and a black man running for the highest possible office—it was a tremendous time in the history of this country.
"So this year when I got an email saying I had donated for the first time four years ago that day, I figured I'd do it again—it worked the first time and I hope it will work the second time. I was so excited when we voted that man in, and I realized: they can vote him out. So I wanted to get out there and do my part. Even though President Obama hasn't always had the support to do what he wants to do, I know he's the same person now that he was then."
An artist and professor in New Orleans, Cynthia says her experience over the last few years played a role in her decision to support the President's campaign.
"My family's from South Texas, and I'm a second-generation Mexican American. I was affected by Hurricane Katrina, and I came back and built a house in New Orleans—on Hope Street, actually, which was another thing that just seemed appropriate. Since Katrina, I learned a lot about the American people. You wouldn't believe how many strangers gave money just to help those of us who were struggling—they were so upset with how the government handled the situation, and they didn't know how else to help. It made me feel really good, and it also made me realize that when you're not satisfied with what's being done, that's when you need to stand up and do what you can.
"I would tell people: giving money to a candidate does help—it helps them get into areas where they couldn't, and even more than that, it's a sign that a number of people believe in that particular individual. Put your money where your mouth is—I can sit here and complain, but if I don't step up I can't say much. This is how you make change—you support what you believe in and what you know to be the right direction for the country."
Like many Americans, Cynthia has been affected by the recession. Still, she says, she's looking forward to action on jobs and the economy.
"It's been difficult to give to the campaign this year, but I feel if I put my money somewhere that's important, that's the right thing to do in the long term. I really would like to see some kind of jobs package passed—both for myself and for everyone else who's struggling right now. I think we need that turnaround."
Why are you with Cynthia and President Obama for 2012? Let us know how you decided to get involved in the campaign—and what you hope to see in the coming years.