Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Ninety-year-old Opal Lee is walking from Fort Worth, Texas to Washington D.C. to get the president's attention. Her goal is get Juneteenth recognized as a national holiday. On Friday, Lee stopped at St. Martin De Porres School in Columbia.
"I kept telling families and friends I was going to walk to D.C. from Fort Worth," Lee said, "I don't think anybody believed me."
The almost 1400 mile walk seems pretty impossible, particularly for someone her age. Lee says the cause is worth walking for.
"Juneteenth needed to be a national holiday," Lee said.
Juneteenth celebrates June 19th, 1865 when slaves in Texas were emancipated. Lee has walked all over the country in hopes of getting the president's attention.
"I want him to invite me to the White House and just tell me why it's not a national holiday," Lee said.
When Lee came to speak to the students of St. Martin De Porres School, she did it by marching through the school with signs in hand.
"We wanted to walk with her around the campus," said Sister Roberta Fulton, the school's principal.
Sister Fulton says it was like taking a step back in time.
"I almost felt that she was like a Rosa Parks," Sister Fulton said, "I was like, 'this is too good to be true.'"
When they made it to the church, the students and teachers listened as Lee talked about the importance of celebrating history. They closed by singing "We Shall Overcome."
"And 90-years-old," Sister Fulton said, "it was inspiring because she is so energetic and so loving and you can tell she has a passion for what she does."
Lee says it is God that has given her the strength.
"The norm is for 90-year-olds to sit and rock and wait for their time to come, but I told them they're going to have to catch me," Lee laughed, "I'm not waiting."
Lee says it is God that will keep her going, too.
"I'll keep on walking, keep on talking until I get some results of some kind," Lee said.
If you would like to help Ms. Opal Lee, she says you can do that by signing the online petition to make Juneteenth a national holiday. For the link to the petition, click here. For the link to Lee's full website, click here.