The day you won my vote: Evy Engrav-Lanoby Curtis Gilbert, Minnesota Public Radio
Minnesota Public Radio is collecting stories about that moment a voter goes from being undecided to supporting a candidate. It's called "The day you won my vote." Barack Obama won a vote this week from Evy Engrav-Lano of Minnetonka.
Fridley, Minn. — Earlier this year, even as Obama was winning over many other black voters, Lano still wasn't convinced. In an interview this January, she said she didn't even think of him as black.
"While I think he is brown, and he's worked in the inner city, it's a different experience when you're the umpteenth generation living in the United States," she said. "When your great-great grandfather was hung by the KKK for teaching other black people to read and write."
Obama's father immigrated to the U.S. from Kenya. His mother was white. But for Lano, it wasn't exactly about Obama's heritage. She just got the feeling he didn't empathize with black America. So what happened this week to change her mind?
It was the speech Obama gave on race in Philadelphia on Tuesday morning. Lano was at work.
"A colleague of mine said, 'You have got to hear this speech.' So, as soon as I got home, I went onto YouTube and I sat there for 39 minutes and watched his speech," she said.
"He talked about education. He talked about people sitting in the emergency room. He talked about the prisons. He talked about the history of African Americans in this country.
"And that instant, not only did he get my vote, I am a passionate Barack Obama supporter now, and I think can lead this country to where it needs to be."
And after joining the 2.5 million people who watched Obama's speech on YouTube, Lano also now sees him as black.
- All Things Considered, 03/21/2008, 4:54 p.m.