Even after voting for Hillary Clinton at P.S. 195 in Soundview, Margaret Oates found it hard to believe she had cast her ballot for a woman for president.
“It’s always been men,” she said.
Oates, 72, had been a saleswoman in a department store when she was diagnosed with diabetes, which she said led to a stroke. Oates said she never had enough money or insurance to get proper medical treatment.
She said she approved of Clinton’s health care plans.
“You can’t help from getting sick,” she said. “I’m not for handouts, but sometimes people need help.”
Janis Charles, 59, said that when she voted in 2008 she thought it was more important to elect a black man to the White House.
“Every time I hear Martin Luther King, Jr., I sob,” she said. “We did overcome.”
She said this year her vote is about female achievement.
“I wanted to prove to the world that we women can ride high. Even though the Bible says a man is the head of the house,” Charles said.
The back-to-back sweeping of barriers will just keep going, Rox Nixon said.
“We had a black president. Now we’ll have a woman president,” she said. “Next we’ll have a black woman president.”
Meanwhile, at I.S. 217 in Longwood, Dollie Cook, 60, left the polls with her relative Shaquan Weaver, 20, who was voting for the first time. Both supported Clinton.
“Hillary all the way,” said Cook. “Ain’t that what Obama said do?”
Cook said she thought Trump would be bad for foreign relations. “You’ve never seen and heard so much hate and racism being brought to the forefront like Trump,” she said. “Where have you ever known somebody to get to run for president — he’s never been a senator, he’s never been a governor, he’s never ran in office. He’s just a businessman. I think the United States is a lot more than business.”
James Lantigua, 22, of Longwood, said this election was more about the candidates’ public representations than their policy positions.
Lantigua graduated from Fordham University in May. He had hoped to hear more about tuition costs and student loans during the campaign. He’s paying off his loans and said he doesn’t want future generations to be discouraged by the prospect of paying for school. “I want more kids to have a free education, so that’s what matters to me,” he said.
Lantigua initially supported Bernie Sanders and said Jill Stein was his favorite candidate, but said he voted for Hillary Clinton because she was the only one who could beat Trump. “He’s very racist,” Lantigua said.
City Limits is partnering with the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism on covering Election 2016 in the Bronx.