November 7, 2011

I Made A Difference in Ohio:

Wow. What an amazing eight months. From gathering signatures to helping fill out absentee applications to registering new voters, I have had the experience of a lifetime I will never forget, and I will be forever grateful. I made a difference by helping to give voters a voice. I came to them and put a face on the issue. Now, no matter what the outcome, they have been able to use their voices to speak up for good jobs. To speak up for Ohio workers.

I registered my grandson, his best friends and a young lady in high school just waiting for the opportunity to be able to vote. The future of Ohio will be okay in the hands of these young people. Registered another eighteen year old young woman who was balancing an infant on her hip while taking care of her handicapped mother in a poverty stricken neighborhood. Went away with the thought she was going to improve her corner of the world, starting with her signature.

I was in Circleville the last day of voter registration and talked to a seventy year old first time voter who had a date with her son to go to the polls. My high school government teacher came to a drive thru petition signing and never had to leave his car. I’ve had conversations with people from 18 to 98, some I will never forget. So many stories.

The new friends I’ve met, again – wow. My partner in this venture has literally picked me up, dusted me off and inspired me to go on. We can just look at each other and burst out laughing. We are starting to finish each others sentences, a little scary. And lastly I am inspired by my union leadership and will be FOREVER grateful that I can be involved in this effort to help working families across Ohio.

I made a difference.

Juanita Smith is a UFCW member and works as a meatcutter in Chillicothe, Ohio.