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Faces in the Crowd

A recurring feature introducing people who plan to attend the inauguration of Barack Obama.


Name: Allie Thomas
Age: 38
Residence: Oakland, Calif.
Profession: Graduate school researcher/second-year PhD student at University of California-Berkeley
Getting to Washington: Thomas will be in Beijing, Chengdu and Jinan, China, the week before the inaugural, working on planning sustainable transportation and land use projects. She'll return to Oakland on Jan. 17, then fly to Washington the next day and be here until Jan. 23. She used 45,000 frequent flier miles and will fly business class.
D.C. Accommodations: Couch-surfing between the apartments of two friends.
Reason for Attending: "I'm coming because it's such an amazing moment in history that I want to be a part of and I never thought I'd see it in my life so early in my life. I figured I'd be 80 before this happened. It's also a moment when I feel the most proud of my country because this election represents a lot of the great things about being American such as organizing, working together, overcoming odds, taking an interest in your country, voting, voicing your concerns. I'm also just so proud of the next generation for setting up offices and getting people registered.

"I kept checking the papers the next day to make sure they didn't call it too soon. It's an incredible moment for me because I'm a [bi-racial] mutt like him and it also lets Black people all over the world know that these things are possible. And it just puts out a very different image of a black man--intelligent, educated, married, and employed who calls his wife his best friend. This is actually pretty common but we just don't see it enough."

By David A Nakamura  |  November 11, 2008; 11:45 AM ET  | Category:  Faces in the Crowd
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