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Fulfilling A Dream By Casting A Vote

Alicia Otavo, an American citizen who immigrated from Colombia, proudly went to the polls with her granddaughter and daughter, cast her vote, and was congratulated by everyone she met. Voting has not always been like that in Colombia.

 

After becoming a citizen of the United States this past year, Madison resident Alicia Otavo realized a lifelong dream when she voted for the first time as an American citizen Tuesday.

Voting for Alicia was a fun family affair, who proudly went to the polls with her granddaughter Jackie Nappo and daughter, Patricia Nappo.

After being congratulated by poll workers at her District 1 polling place Tuesday, Alicia went outside and checked out the offerings on the bake sale table set up for Daniel Hand High School's Nite In Hand celebration. She then meandered over to the Girl Scout cookie table, set up by a local Girl Scout Troop. While outside, laughing gently and smiling, she was congratulated by more friends.

Voting has not always been like that in Colombia, Alicia's native country, according to BBC

Colombia  ... evolved as a highly segregated society, split between the traditionally rich families of Spanish descent and the vast majority of poor Colombia ... In a country where the presence of the state has always been weak, the result has been a grinding war on multiple fronts, with the civilian population caught in the crossfire and often deliberately targeted for "collaborating". Human rights advocates blame paramilitaries for massacres, "disappearances," and cases of torture and forced displacement. Rebel groups are behind assassinations, kidnapping and extortion.

Patricia says Alicia is proud to be an American and was thrilled to go to the District 1 polling place with her granddaughter. Patricia noted that her mother has not been well, and so it was particularly important for her to vote this year. She also said her mother was thrilled to vote at the new Madison Senior Center, where she has spent many enjoyable hours with friends doing fun activities.

Congratulations Alicia!!!!!!

eileen banisch November 07, 2012 at 03:01 PM
Thanks Pem - what a heartwarming story.
Sarah Page Kyrcz November 07, 2012 at 04:17 PM
I just love this story. It is so positive, so uplifting, so patriotic. Thanks for sharing, Pem.
Jose Elvis Cifuentes November 07, 2012 at 11:42 PM
She is our aunt and we are too proud of her, first she was sick, now she is a real life's champion, greetings from Colombia, Memo and José Elvis
Pem McNerney (Editor) November 08, 2012 at 12:07 AM
Memo and José Elvis, it was such a pleasure to meet your aunt. She is a true inspiration, and we are happy she chose to settle in Madison CT. Thanks for writing.
Sarah Page Kyrcz November 08, 2012 at 12:11 AM
Wow! Madison Patch readers in Columbia. How wonderful that Alicia could share this with family so far away.
Lynne Charles November 08, 2012 at 12:56 PM
Congratulations to Alicia on becoming a citizen -- and thanks to Patch high-lighting this story of an immigrant in our community. All too often, immigrants are demonized in this country. The big discussion about immigration reform has yet to take place. To start the dialogue locally, Shoreline Unitarian Universalist Society is hosting a free film next Friday,"Liverty 9500," November 16th, at 7 pm. Members from Literacy Volunteers and students and teachers from ESL programs will be there to share their experiences. Read more at the Patch Events listing. http://madison-ct.patch.com/events/free-friday-film-series-liberty-9500
DYAN SALEMI November 08, 2012 at 01:36 PM
Pem..This wonderful family certainly " Left Footprints on my Heart"..I was so happy to speak with them..You made it a very monumental moment for them by capturing their smiles....I am quite sure these smiles were also reflective of our families becoming citizens & voting as American citizens many years ago.. Dyan Salemi
M. C. November 08, 2012 at 02:44 PM
Another great reason why I love my country
Lisa November 14, 2012 at 03:44 PM
Thanks for sharing this story and these awesome photos of three generations of awesome, amazing and gorgeous women!!!

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