Posts Tagged ‘Community



07
Dec
13

From the Archives: What Makes Obama Run? (Dec 7, 1995)

Barack Obama, Chicago, 1995 – Photo: Marc PoKempner

On This Day: December 7, 1995 –

Hank De Zutter (Chicago Reader): What Makes Obama Run?

Lawyer, teacher, philanthropist, and author Barack Obama doesn’t need another career. But he’s entering politics to get back to his true passion – community organization

When Barack Obama returned to Chicago in 1991 after three brilliant years at Harvard Law School, he didn’t like what he saw. The former community activist, then 30, had come fresh from a term as president of the prestigious Harvard Law Review, a position he was the first African-American to hold. Now he was ready to continue his battle to organize Chicago’s black neighborhoods. But the state of the city muted his exuberance.

“Upon my return to Chicago,” he would write in the epilogue to his recently published memoir, Dreams From My Father, “I would find the signs of decay accelerated throughout the South Side — the neighborhoods shabbier, the children edgier and less restrained, more middle-class families heading out to the suburbs, the jails bursting with glowering youth, my brothers without prospects…..”

Reading to young kids during 1995 IL State Senate campaign – Photo: Marc PoKempner

Today, after three years of law practice and civic activism, Obama has decided to dive into electoral politics. He is running for the Illinois Senate ….. Obama got all sorts of advice. Some of it perplexed him; most of it annoyed him. One African-American elected official suggested that Obama change his name, which he’d inherited from his late Kenyan father. Another told him to put a picture of his light-bronze, boyish face on all his campaign materials, “so people don’t see your name and think you’re some big dark guy.”

“Now all of this may be good political advice,” Obama said, “but it’s all so superficial …. Even those who are on the same page as me on the issues never seem to want to talk about them. Politics is regarded as little more than a career.”

Barack Obama in 1995 in his office at the University of Chicago Law School. On the wall is a portrait of the late Mayor Harold Washington. Photo: Marc PoKempner

Obama doesn’t need another career. As a civil rights lawyer, teacher, philanthropist, and author, he already has no trouble working 12-hour days. He says he is drawn to politics, despite its superficialities, as a means to advance his real passion and calling: community organization.

 ….. While no political opposition to Obama has arisen yet, many have expressed doubts about the practicality of his ambitions …. “Three major doubts have been raised,” he said. The first is whether in today’s political environment – with its emphasis on media and money – a grass-roots movement can even be created. Will people still answer the call of participatory politics?….

…. In 1992 Obama took time off to direct Project Vote, the most successful grass-roots voter-registration campaign in recent city history. Credited with helping elect Carol Moseley-Braun to the U.S. Senate, the registration drive, aimed primarily at African-Americans, added an estimated 125,000 voters to the voter rolls – even more than were registered during Harold Washington’s mayoral campaigns. “It’s a power thing,” said the brochures and radio commercials.

Campaigning for the Illinois State Senate in 1995, a race he easily won – Photo: Marc PoKempner

Obama’s work on the south side has won him the friendship and respect of many activists. One of them, Johnnie Owens, left the citywide advocacy group Friends of the Parks to join Obama at the Developing Communities Project. He later replaced Obama as its executive director.

“What I liked about Barack immediately is that he brought a certain level of sophistication and intelligence to community work,” Owens says. “He had a reasonable, focused approach that I hadn’t seen much of. A lot of organizers you meet these days are these self-anointed leaders with this strange, way-out approach and unrealistic, eccentric way of pursuing things from the very beginning. Not Barack. He’s not about calling attention to himself. He’s concerned with the work. It’s as if it’s his mission in life, his calling, to work for social justice.

“Anyone who knows me knows that I’m one of the most cynical people you want to see, always looking for somebody’s angle or personal interest,” Owens added.

“I’ve lived in Chicago all my life. I’ve known some of the most ruthless and biggest bullshitters out there, but I see nothing but integrity in this guy.”….

Read the full article here

Barack Obama collects signatures on his nominating petition for his first run for political office in 1995

22
Jun
12

Florida

A young boy salutes President Obama after the President spoke at the NALEO Conference in Orlando (Pete Souza)

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President Obama holds 10-month-old Jameson Reeder at the Orlando International Airport

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NALEO conference, Lake Buena Vista, Florida

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President Obama greets people after arriving at Tampa International Airport

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President Obama speaks to an overflow room before a campaign rally at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa

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Hillsborough Community College, Tampa

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14
Jun
12

Ohio to New York

President Barack Obama talks to kids during a stop at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland on Broadway Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio, June 14, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama arrive in New York

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Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio

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At the Girls Club of Cleveland, Ohio

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… at the 9/11 Memorial while touring the One World Trade Center building

Words from President Obama are seen on a construction beam after he signed it while touring the One World Trade Center building, which is under construction in New York. The words read “We remember, We Rebuild, We come back Stronger.”

President Obama chats with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

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9:55: PBO and Michelle Obama deliver remarks at a campaign event (The Plaza Hotel – live coverage)

18
Apr
12

ohio

President Obama shakes hands with Lorain County Community College student Bronson Harwood after speaking at the college in Elyria, Ohio

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…. greeted by Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson as he steps off of Air Force One at Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport

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…. holding a roundtable discussion at Lorain County Community College in Elyria

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President Obama speaks about job training at Lorain County Community College in Elyria, Ohio

30
Mar
12

the maine event

Southern Maine Community College in Portland

Enthusiasm gap!

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Meanwhile …. the latest:

Link

Link

21
Mar
12

rise and shine

Charles Pierce: …. That was about as bad a speech as you ever will see from a candidate who probably just wrapped up the nomination. …. At its heart, though, Romney’s speech featured some sub-Santorumish sarcasm directed at the president for having been a law professor while Willard was fighting his way up every inch of the hard road that leads from opulent wealth to incalculable wealth.

…. There was also the requisite sneering at community organizing. Let us consider, then, the community in which the president once organized. This is what I found out about it when I went and looked at it in 2008:

Obama also worked in the Altgeld Gardens, a housing development built in 1945 atop an ecological hellspout where two thousand families lived on an old landfill and hard by fifty-three different sites that had been designated as “toxic” by one study of the area.

Altgeld Gardens was built on the bones of old steel mills and factories, and atop the waste dumps and landfills that serviced them. And, when they built the projects there, they filled them full of asbestos. That poisoned neighborhood was a perfect product of the “freedom” that Romney talks about when he talks about an unregulated economy. Barack Obama went there to organize the people who were living on that deadly ground because The Market couldn’t have cared less about them, and the various governments allowed The Market not to care and, so, did not care either. The kids with the asthma, they weren’t free. The kids who developed the renal disease, they weren’t free. The people in all the cancer clusters, they weren’t free ….. in the 1980’s, when the president was working for peanuts trying to get some sort of justice for the people that The Market had chosen to poison, Willard Romney was making millions with Bain Capital…..

More here

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9:40: PBO Obama departs the White House en route Joint Base Andrews

2:40: Arrives Las Vegas

4:10: Tours Copper Mountain Solar 1 Facility

5:50: Departs Las Vegas en route Roswell, N.M.

8:15: Delivers remarks on the Administration’s commitment to expanding domestic oil and gas production

9:35: Departs Roswell en route Oklahoma City

10:50: Arrives Oklahoma City

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White House live

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Michael Tomasky: Illinois was a breeze for Mitt Romney, and yes, numerically, maybe it’s getting close to done. But state by state, this still isn’t over. Rick Santorum remains likely to win Louisiana, which is next. Then comes Wisconsin on April 3. Santorum is still about 15 points ahead there right now. And it looks like Santorum has taken Missouri – again. So while Illinois probably means that Romney is on his way to the nomination, and maybe on his way to 1,144 delegates, it’s also a fact that Santorum isn’t going anywhere….

More here

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Cagle

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Jake Tapper: “Romney and his allies have spent $45 million. That totals $12.40 per vote. … Santorum and his allies have spent $3 per vote.” (Video)

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The Week

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The Hill: Sen. Dick Durbin on Wednesday mocked GOP hopeful Mitt Romney, saying that the low turnout for Illinois’s primary had diminished his victory in the state.

“Romney outspent Santorum 5 to 1 and at the end of the night we had the lowest turnout for a Republican presidential primary in 70 years,” Durbin said on CBS’s “This Morning.”

“You could draw a bigger crowd at a Green Bay Packers rally in downtown Chicago than what Mr. Romney delivered at the polls yesterday in Illinois.”

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Nick Anderson

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20
Mar
12

‘thank you’

Distriction.com: Stephon stood just a few feet away from Barack Obama. The president, busy shaking hands, looked right at him. “It was like he was waiting for me to say something,” he said later.

So the 26-year-old Prince George’s Community College student took his cue and spoke to President Obama in his first language: American Sign Language. “I am proud of you,” Stephon signed. The president, almost involuntary, instinctively, immediately signed back.

“Thank you,” Obama replied.

This is one of those moments that humanize the office of the presidency…..

Stephon: “The moment I will never forget was when he looked at me. He gave me a chance to talk to him. It was like he was waiting for me to say something. I took the moment and signed “I am proud of you,” and his response was “Thank u” in sign language back! Oh my gosh! I was like wow! He understood me after I said I was proud of him. It was so amazing…I was just speechless. Right after he thanked me, he smiled at another deaf lady who signed “I love you.” When I shook his hand it did not feel like he was superior to me. He was just a humble man. I am just impressed by him and know that he will have my vote and he will win second term without a doubt. Yeah, I feel safe to have him for another term.”

More here

Visit Stephon’s YouTube channel here

Thank you Meta

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Thanks again Meta

15
Mar
12

pure energy

Prince George’s Community College, Largo, Maryland, March 15

Pete Souza!

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President Obama shakes hands with a supporter as he exits with take-out from Texas Ribs and BBQ in Clinton, MD, where he stopped with US Senator Ben Cardin




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