Remembering 1199's History: Hundreds of 1199ers Attended Obama Inauguration

January 14, 2021


For hundreds of 1199ers, Jan. 20 is the anniversary of one of the most important days of their lives. These 1199ers were present 12 years ago for the inauguration of the first African American president in our nation.

Some 400 Member Political Organizers and Weekend Warriors – 1199ers who worked for months to elect BarackObama – boarded buses around midnight to make the trek to Washington D.C. They were joined by other 1199ers from Upstate NY, Massachusetts, Maryland and Washington D.C.

They were part of an estimated 1.8 million people from around the nation who comprised the largest inauguration crowd in history. Although the temperature dipped below freezing and the huge numbers meant that attendees had to stand for hours before the ceremony began, the mood was celebratory.

For members it was the culmination of months of long days of work. “There are so many good feelings in my heart that I can share with my children and grandchildren,” said Debora Herring, a nursing assistant at NYU Medical Center in Manhattan. Herring put in many stints as a Weekend Warrior in Pennsylvania.

On Jan. 20, 1199ers and the world will witness the swearing in of our nation’s first woman vice president. Sen. KamalaHarris will also become the first African American, Indian-American and child of immigrants to hold that post.

When Joe Biden and Harris are inaugurated, the hope is thatour nation will return to the spirit expressed in 2009 by Linda Barnes, a clerk at North Shore Plainview Hospital on Long Island: “It’s not just about ‘me’ or ‘I’ or ‘you’ anymore.”