One important Volunteer: Russell Lee Nicholson

A volunteer for Rahm Emanuel was already in line by 7:15 a.m. on Nov. 15 and with the help of campaign staff, Russell Lee Nicholson, brought in a cart containing what they said was 90,905 signatures.

Although the Board of Election set up strict rules to the process this year to avoid crowds, Emanuel’s campaign still showed up as an entourage, rolling his petitions in on a cart outfitted with one of many different campaign slogans, “Rahm for Mayor”.

Nicholson, 49, first met Emanuel at the 95th Red Line L stop in October during his “Tell It Like It Is Tour”, logged on to his campaign website ( days later and offered to volunteer and was one of three workers chosen to hand in his petitions.

Volunteering for Rahm was a premade decision for Nicholson, who had previously worked as a part of Obama’s campaign. “I believe in his campaign. We need someone who has a strong fiscal background and is a unifier,” Nicholson said of Emanuel.

Nicholson was born and raised on the Southside of Chicago in Englewood. Stressing the importance of becoming involved, Nicholson said, “Education is so key. Folks are working two or three jobs. Many are too tired and don’t have time to become politically educated.”

Growing up with a bi-racial background, Nicholson has seen a lot of racism play out in Chicago. When asked about the importance about becoming an involved in the 2011 Mayoral Election, Nicholson said, “It’s not a black, white, or Latino thing. It’s a Chicago thing at this point. It’s wonderful to be a part of our [country’s] whole democracy.”

“Everyone should take a turn,” said Nicholson about volunteering. Nicholson spoke how volunteering for what you believe in, will only make our communities into a better place.

Nicholson mentioned the positive support received from Chicago-ans, while collecting a small number of the total 90,905 signatures for the Emanuel campaign. Nicholson said many of her volunteer hours where spent at CTA train and bus stations, as well as at different locations in her local community including grocery stores and churches.

Nicholson noted that many people don’t realize the importance of volunteers and how much work actually goes into a campaign.

Hosting more campaign support activities and placing phone calls are still on Nicholson’s to do list, now that the petitions are turned in.

Rahm Emmanuel addressed volunteers after his mayoral announcement, “I could not do this today, unless it was for the hard work you did coming to the office or going to do petitions.”