A 102-year-old Florida woman who waited several hours in voting lines to cast her ballot for President Barack Obama found herself sitting with first lady Michelle Obama Tuesday night at the State of the Union.
After her whirlwind trip to the nation’s capital, Desiline Victor returned to her home in Miami on Wednesday.
Local 10’s Baron James was at Miami International Airport when the voting rights hero’s flight landed. The Haitian American, nicknamed Mama by those close to her, stepped off the airplane and into the arms of cheering family, friends, fans, and local politicians as the media captured the frenzy on camera.
Victor said she’s received a massive amount of attention since meeting President Obama.
“Everywhere I turned, everyone wanted to take pictures with me. ‘Desiline, Desiline.’ And I said, ‘I love you, too,” she said in between laughter.
Victor flew to Washington on Monday, one day ahead of Obama's address.
Three months prior, Victor made two trips and waited several hours in Miami just to vote early for Obama, for whom she also voted in 2008.
“I didn't like standing in line that long. I didn't like it at all," she said.
President Obama shared Victor's story during his address Wednesday night, guaranteeing her place in the nation's history.
"When she arrived at her polling place, she was told the wait to vote might be six hours," the president said. "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. 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.'"
Victor received a standing ovation for her determination, which has come to symbolize the long voting delays in Florida during the 2012 election.
“I feel proud. I feel proud,” she said.
Victor received a Congressional proclamation for her tenacity. In Miami-Dade County, Feb. 13 was declared Desiline Victor Day, the same day new voting reform legislation was introduced in Tallahassee.
Commissioner Audrey Edmonson told her, “You are our hero. You showed with determination that if someone wanted to vote that they would stand there for hours and vote. And at your age, I just congratulate you.”
James asked Victor if she would do it all over again.
“I don’t think I’ll see another election. I don’t think so,” she said.
Even after leaving MIA, the spotlight will continue to shine brightly on Mama Victor, as her home church in Opa-locka plans a tribute celebration on Sunday.