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Taking the day off for inauguration day?

January 16, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
A lot of people want to see President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration and all the events that go with it. Since the inauguration falls during the work week, that makes it difficult. Eyewitness News conducted a poll by SurveyUSA asking people: "Do you think inauguration day should be a national holiday so that people can stay home and watch the events on television?" Thirty-nine percent said yes it should be a holiday; 57 percent said no; and 5 percent weren't sure.

African-American employees at a black-owned business in Windsor Hills say they are busy and they will busy next Tuesday on inauguration day. They say they won't mind. Other African-Americans have a different opinion.

Despite a reported rallying call by some African-Americans across the country for employers to give black people the day off for inauguration day, the more than 20 employees at Simply Wholesome food store and restaurant in Windsor Hills say they plan to work next Tuesday.

"I'm a strong supporter of Obama and the fact that he's saying that everyone should be individually responsible, I have no problem working," said employee Lisa Neal. "I will be with him in spirit and in body and mind and I'm just happy Obama, our first black president, will be inaugurated on the 20th."

Apryl Sims, general manger of the business, says for her and her employees, working on inauguration day came down to a choice to stay open and celebrate together.

"We will be open, all 25 of us, and thankful," said Sims. "And I think the new president, Barack Obama, would be supportive of businesses doing their part to helps spur the economy. We plan on having a special, sending around black-eyed peas and corn bread, a traditional celebratory meal."

Bill Jackson says he took matters into his own hands to ensure he'd be off to celebrate.

"People can take the day off, most likely if they plan ahead and I did plan ahead," said Bill Jackson.

Eyewitness News talked to several people who believe employers should encourage them to take the day off.

"We'll actually have the time off to experience this and you know, that would pay tribute to our ancestors in this country who dreamed of this day," said Walter Davis.

"I mean, it's a piece of history, you know what I'm saying?" said Simone Rambo. "And I think that it would be a good thing."

Some African-Americans say it's not only blacks who want to take the day off to witness history.

"I think it would be fair to give all people off that day because people of all ethnicities are proud and happy," said Sandra Tunstill.

"I think it's a huge celebration for America, there's a huge reason for a celebration for all Americans," said Jennifer Valdovnos.

Workers at this black-owned business say whether you are working or not, inauguration day truly will be a historic day for all Americans.


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