January 14, 2009

CCEL Assistant Director Prepares to Join Millions on the Streets of Washington, D.C., for the Presidential Inauguration

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Janice Eatman-Williams wants to participate in some of the inauguration activities, but like most people, she doesn't have tickets to witness the historic events up close. However, that minor detail isn't stopping this daughter of civil rights activists from finding her own way of marking the occasion. Instead of watching the festivities on television in Cleveland, Eatman-Williams is headed to the nation's capital to try to catch a glimpse of Barack Obama as he's sworn in as the 44th president of the United States.

"I never thought I'd get to see this, but in October I just felt it," Eatman-Williams, assistant director of the Center for Civic Engagement and Learning, said of Obama's chances of becoming the next president.

She was so convinced her candidate was going to win, she and a dozen friends from five states booked hotel rooms in Maryland long before the election results were announced, and Eatman-Williams earmarked her airline rewards for the trip. "We got in early and inexpensively."

Almost two million people are expected to be in the nation's capital, so Eatman-Williams and her friends plan to take a train to Washington, D.C., to lessen the hassle of traveling by car.

Although she didn't win inauguration tickets through the congressional lotteries as she'd hoped, Eatman-Williams and her friends have other options in the works. Plan B includes stationing themselves at strategic locations along the parade route, while Plan C is attending one of the numerous viewing parties to watch the event on a large television monitor. In addition, they will participate in some of the balls, concerts and educational programs taking place during the extended Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend.

"I might keep a journal about my experiences," Eatman-Williams, who also is an alumnus, said about documenting her trip. As a voter education volunteer for the presidential campaign's Cleveland initiative, she said she's already experienced what she thinks was the major theme: a sense of community. "Sharing was the gift that came from this campaign. People from all walks of life worked together."

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For more information contact Kimyette Finley, 216.368.0521.

Posted by: Kimyette Finley, January 14, 2009 01:45 PM | News Topics: Alumni, Public Policy/Politics, Staff, news

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