A South Florida centenarian experienced a whirlwind adventure in Washington, D.C., joining first lady Michelle Obama for Tuesday's State of the Union and receiving applause from lawmakers during President Barack Obama’s address.
Although Desiline Victor’s Washington trip was winding down Wednesday, well-wishers still have one more showing of appreciation planned: A welcome-home party with balloons, flowers and signs for her at Miami International Airport, where Victor's flight was expected to arrive in the afternoon.
“To be able to see her acknowledged, it makes you feel really good that she is appreciated,” said Elbert Garcia, a spokesman of Florida New Majority, one of the organizations that helped bring attention to Victor’s story.
Tuesday, Victor, 102, of Miami, was seated in the House visitors’ gallery as Obama cited her as an example of early voting obstacles in the presidential election. Victor was so determined to exercise her right to vote last fall that she made two trips and waited several hours to vote for Obama.
“We should follow the example of a North Miami woman named Desiline Victor,” Obama said. “When she arrived at her polling place, she was told the wait to vote might be six hours. And as time ticked by, her concern was not with her tired body or aching feet, but whether folks like her would get to have their say.”
Obama continued: “Hour after hour, a throng of people stayed in line in support of her. Because Desiline is 102 years old. And they erupted in cheers when she finally put on a sticker that read ‘I Voted.’”
During Obama’s address Tuesday, several people stood and applauded Victor.
Victor, a farmworker from Haiti, was born in 1910 and arrived in the United States in 1989. She was naturalized in 2005 and first voted in the 2008 presidential election.