In Harlem convenience store, an immigrant enclave
Posted Wednesday, November 5 at 03:34 am CT by msnbc.com
Filed under Field correspondents
African immigrants living in Harlem gather at a convenience store to watch election results. (todayshow.com)
It was no small feat in a small New York City space: About two dozen men crammed themselves into a tiny convenience store on Frederick Douglass Boulevard in Harlem. The lucky ones nabbed seats on cardboard boxes, while late-comers spilled into the hallway, craning their necks to see the election results on a small TV in the corner.
They had immigrated from all across Africa and become friends while worshipping at the local mosque. While most are pursuing permanent citizenship, in this historic moment, all of them felt like Americans.
“This is the greatest country,” declared Amadu B. Barrie, a 37-year-old cab driver from Sierra Leone. Barrie came to Harlem in 2000, but like most of his friends, he was still pursuing his green card and could not vote. It did nothing to dull his enthusiasm.
“We are Americans today,” said Barrie, whose daughter still lives in Africa. “We all here, we all Americans. We are not multicultures.”
Fuad Meygag, 47, one of the few men there who was able to vote, said he cast his ballot for Barack Obama. “I feel proud,” he said. “This is the first time we see the country together.”
The men hoped the historic election would touch their homelands and spread across the globe.
“People will love the United States more than ever,” Barrie said. “Do you know why? Because we showed the world already that this is United States. … We are human beings, everybody is equal.”
His friend, Amadou Sow, nodded in agreement: “It’s time to change the world.”
-- Jen Brown and Sarika Dani, Todayshow.com