My name is Dotie Joseph, and I'm a volunteer with President Obama's grassroots campaign in Florida. I was born in Haiti and raised in Miami. When I'm not working with the campaign, I practice law as a civil rights attorney.
I first got involved with the campaign in 2008, when I volunteered to help ensure that voters in South Florida weren't being disenfranchised through discriminatory voting rights violations. It adds an extra level of accountability in the process when you have a third party there on Election Day. Having been a student of the voting issues and discrimination that happened in our country in the past, I knew how important it was to pay attention. Plus, since I was a lawyer, I figured it would be a good way for me to volunteer.
I've been impressed with so many of the President's accomplishments from the last three years—getting health care reform passed, for one. It's significant to have something in place to address the needs of all the people in the United States. He knows there's still work to be done, but we have a start. I respect that the President is doing what he can to keep his promises. Another example is bringing the Iraq war to a close. I have lots of friends who have served in the Armed Forces, and it is a heavy burden on their families and friends. I honor and appreciate the President following through on his promise to end it.
We have so many voters in Florida who are impacted by just about every issue in this election—of course the economy touches everyone, particularly when it comes to jobs and the ongoing foreclosure crisis. Education is always important, especially in light of recent cuts and layoffs. Immigration and foreign policy are big in South Florida, and the preservation of Social Security and Medicare are critical issues for our significant population of seniors. Although I may not agree with the President on every single issue, I do appreciate his efforts to consider the needs of all Americans.
As a volunteer, I understand the power of collective action, as well as the power of one. I know that just one person can make a difference. I also recognize how efforts can be exponentially multiplied through an organized effort to achieve a specific end, like the civil rights movement in the United States. So I'm just excited about doing my part, even though I work hectic hours and have family commitments—just about everybody's busy. But volunteering gives me the chance to make an impact by maximizing the use of the limited time I have to contribute to a greater cause. So between now and November, I'm planning to help organize voter education events and registration drives—we're planning an event in North Miami to help get the Hatian-American community engaged. And, of course, I'm planning to VOTE!
There is a Haitian proverb that says, "men anpil, chay pa lou," which roughly translates to "many hands make the load lighter." Regardless of who you are, I suspect there are some things that you would like to see done differently with our country. Rather than sit back and complain, why not be a part of the change you wish to see? Engage. There is a lot to be done between now and November, and the more hands—i.e. volunteers—we have to help with the load, the lighter that load will be.