Michelle Obama Speaks at CCRI

I went to CCRI, Knight Campus in 1973. I think the building wears well, it’s a radical design, all poured concrete and ramps. I was wondering whether the campaign stop by Michelle Obama would take place in the large auditorium, or in the common area in the center of the building. That is a huge open space bordered by spiraling ramps that lead to the upper floors.

Doors were set to open at 5:45. At 5:40 I turned onto the exit off Rt. 95S and hit a traffic jam. There is a left lane that leads to a turn light to the college–it was full. I got someone to let me in, and saw cars behind and in front trying to wedge into the lane. It took about 10 minutes to get up to the light. At the bottom of the hill, where a wide drive leads up to CCRI, there were 5 or 6 picketers protesting illegal immigrants. There must have been almost 100 Obama lawn signs on the road up.

The huge parking lot was mostly full. There’s always night classes on week nights, so I can’t say how it would look normally, but the rows were lettered and I had to drive down to ‘K’, the 11th tier, before I found a space. There was a full moon and it was cold.

The entrance to the school is a wide concrete ramp leading to the front doors. A lone man stood holding a sign for Ron Paul.

Inside the door were rows of tables with volunteers signing people in. The speech was in the common area. Volunteers were trying to steer people down onto the ground floor, but it was irresistible to walk up the ramps and look down on the crowd and the stage. How many people I don’t know. The floor was mostly full and the ramps were solidly lined with spectators all the way to the top.

It was a happy crowd, diverse in age and race. I went up the stairs to the top of the ramps, and looked down on a sea of people. Some were waving signs and holding banners. Music played on the sound system. It wasn’t too loud, and there was a lot of soul, including the Staple Singers ‘I’ll Take You There’. Of course they kept us waiting until after 6:30. The program began with the National Anthem. Attorney General Patrick Lynch asked for a moment of silence for the five-year anniversary of the Station Nightclub Fire. Then he got into the spirit, rousing huge cheers when he said that for the first time anyone can remember, Rhode Island’s primary on March 4th really counts. He introduced Michelle Obama’s brother, Brown University basketball coach Craig Robinson, who warmly commended his sister’s accomplishments and introduced her as “the next first lady of the United States”.

Michelle Obama spoke about her husband’s start as a long-shot candidate, and how with each success they “raised the bar”. A well-chosen metaphor for listeners who knew about bars of race and gender and class. And a devastating response to the Clinton campaign’s need to downplay the amazing momentum the Obama campaign has generated.

I hated to leave, but I was supposed to be somewhere else, so I just appreciated that I got to hear some of the speech, and be a part of the crowd, and see people happy and full of hope. It’s been a long time.

7 thoughts on “Michelle Obama Speaks at CCRI

  1. My wife, sister, daughter and neice were there last night. It was amazing.

    My young daughter and her cousin were star struck and had the golden opportunity to make their way to the front and shake Mrs. Obama’s hand.

    The Obamas’ story is what America is about – it is that audacity to do something amazing when other people tell you that you cannot.

  2. I watch channel 12 a lot and see the clinton commercial several times a day.  She says she approves the message.  The message is that you can’t pass legislation quickly and get people to work together all the time, but she tries to help one person every day and when she is president she will continue to try and help one person every day. Maybe when she comes to Rhode Island next week YOU could be the person she helps that day.  Where do we get in line?  How does she decide who to pick? How could she have approved such a message?

  3. it’s easy to see why there is so much response to Barack Obama’s message of change. We have been hearing our Democratic politicians explain to us that we have to lower our expectations for too long.
    But i wonder why so few speak out against the war. Dennis Kucinich was the bravest, and his campaign didn’t last long. I am not a supporter of Ron Paul, but his opposition to the war is probably the reason he has not gotten further in his party.

  4. Pingback: www.buzzflash.net
  5. Constance,
    The Clinton campaign is reeling. I saw the ad and had the same response that you did…WHAT? One would think that if a campaign is opting to only air a few ads in a market, that the ads that they would air would at the very least be upbeat and understandable. She is right about one thing…legislation is/was hard to pass quickly. Sen. McCain and Clinton have been party loyalists for decades, so deeply entrenched in their us v. them/ dem v. rep mentality that if either one is elected a significant part of their agenda would be to “bury” the opposition. There is only one candidate with the ability or even the inclination to bring this country together and that candidate is Barack Obama.

Comments are closed.