The people who know Hillary Clinton’s record best — New Yorkers — are welcoming home one of their own.
The Apollo Theater in Harlem is a place that’s quintessentially New York — host to some of the all-time greats of music history, from Ella Fitzgerald to Billie Holiday to James Brown.
But on an afternoon in late March, the theater was filled with people from all five boroughs to welcome home one of their own: their former senator — and fellow New Yorker — Hillary Clinton.
Meet three of the New Yorkers who joined Hillary live at the Apollo.
New York City
What brought you out to see Hillary at the Apollo today?
I’m a handsome 88-year-old dude, and I’m a Harlem heritage tour guide. When I do all these walking tours, we have hundreds of European tourists coming to New York City, and I involve politics. I say, “We in New York are Hillary-ites.” And then I say to them, “At 88 years old, I never thought I’d live long enough to experience a black president. But God is very good to me and has given me the experience of a black president. And now I’m ready for a woman president — Hillary Clinton!”
Do you remember when Hillary was your senator?
Yes, a very good senator. She was a very positive force for New York, and New Yorkers like her. And especially Harlem. The Clintons have been very positive toward Harlem. Bill has his offices here on 125th Street.
What’s one thing about Harlem you want people to know?
It’s probably one of the most spectacular communities of all of New York City, and it is so spectacular that it’s quickly becoming gentrified and very expensive. And so it’s changing. Harlem began as a an English, Dutch, German, Jewish, Italian community, became an African American community, and now it’s reverting back. Nothing remains the same. I’ve experienced that at 88 years old.
What’s special about having this at the Apollo?
The most important institutions in Harlem are the black churches. But the most important cultural institution is the Apollo Theater. This event should be no place else.
New York City
Why did you want to hear from Hillary today?
I’m here to support Hillary, and I’m also here to support my religion. There’s been a lot of negativity about us going around, and I cannot work or have my business work because of what they’ve been telling in the newspaper and in the media — that we are terrorists. And I want to say that Muslims here, we want to do better things and positive things for our families and for our children. And I believe that Hillary will support that also. And I believe her. I believe in her.
Are you an immigrant?
I am from Morocco originally. The first election I voted in when I became a citizen was Bill Clinton, and then Obama, and this is my third election. I’ve been a citizen for more than 10 years.
Does it mean a lot to you to cast your vote as an American citizen?
It does. The reason I was here was because my dad was working in the Moroccan embassy. When I came here, I loved the ambition, I loved the care, I loved the enthusiasm of the people. And that convinced me to stay. And that encouraged me to go to school here and have my family here.
Who do you think about when you think about voting in this election?
My 12-year-old son, he’s been hearing the news about Donald Trump and how he doesn’t love Muslims. And he was very terrified, like, “Mommy, what if he’s going to kick us out of the country?” He feels threatened. He’s scared. And he doesn’t want to leave. I have my family all over the place — Belgium, France, Morocco. But he doesn’t want to go anywhere else. This is his homeland, and he wants to grow up here. And I want him to be safe. So it means a lot to hear someone talk about the Muslim community in a positive way and support us in a positive way.
Mary Anne DiCanto
Amityville, New York
What brought you out here?
In 2008, I worked on Hillary’s campaign. I was celebrating my five-year cancer anniversary. And I was very disappointed when she didn’t win.
In January 2013, the cancer came back in my bones and my liver. And in December 2014, my oncologist at a major cancer center gave me the business card for an end-of-life counselor and told me to get my affairs in order. And I said some not very kind words and said, “You don’t understand. I need to see Hillary Clinton be president.” And I changed doctors, and I’m still here, and my goal is to make sure I vote in November. And see her get inaugurated in January. My husband came with me today to help me make it here.
How are you feeling today?
I’m so excited. I really am. I’m so moved to be here, it’s really important to me. It’s a major bucket-list item. I’ve seen her eight years ago, but I haven’t yet this year.
And now you’re standing behind her on stage at the Apollo …
I know. Always standing behind her. And voting for her on April 19 — my late mother’s birthday, who also died of metastatic breast cancer. So in her honor, I’ll be casting that ballot. If we didn’t have the Affordable Care Act, I wouldn’t be here, because insurance companies canceled me for pre-existing conditions. It’s a big reason why I support Hillary.
Originally published on hillaryclinton.com.