It's shortly after 9 a.m. at the Tate Plaza at the University of Georgia. Students walk past wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the slogan "Change," while cars drive by with "Yes We Can" stickers plastered on the back fender. Obama signs are stuck in flowerpots and on tables hosted by the Young Democrats and adorn the railing of the outdoor stage at the back of the plaza. John Legend singing "Yes, We Can" booms into the cool autumn air from a nearby iPod stereo system. On this campus, like others around the country, the enthusiasm is palpable.
"I have been waiting for this day for 20 months," says Mehul Patel, a 19-year-old junior from Grayson, Georgia, who works 25 hours a week for the Obama campaign. "I wasn't able to sleep last night."
"This election is historic," adds Yasmin Yonis, a 19-year-old sophomore from Lawrenceville. "I voted early and I was thinking, ‘I can tell this to my children.' "
Although many students are excited, some expressed concerns that if Obama wins, it could lull people into believing that our work on racial equality is done.
"It's a double-edged sword," says Rahmel Fuller, a 22-year-old Atlanta senior. "Obama's winning will let people know that they can achieve anything. On the other hand, it's a chance for people in America to say that racism does not exist. And that's just a false sense of progress."
Michelle Anderson, who spent her morning working at a polling station in Fulton County, echoes these sentiments. "I just hope people don't start to think that if Obama wins, our work is done," says the 20-year-old Spelman College junior. "We will still need to be active in our communities even after the election is over."
Yasmin Yonis, a 19 year old sophomore from Lawrenceville walking across the Tate Plaza
Van sponsored by the Eta Xi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.Van sponsored by the Eta Xi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.
Mehul Patel, 19 year old junior from Grayson, Ga., decorates a patriotic Obama cookie.