Posts Tagged ‘organizer

12
Sep
14

President Obama Celebrates 20 Years Of AmeriCorps

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President Barack Obama delivers remarks at an AmeriCorps Pledge ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House

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President Barack Obama is joined by former President Bill Clinton for a AmeriCorps Pledge ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House. Clinton’s administration established the program in 1994

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hundreds of new volunteers are sworn in for duty

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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

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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27
Jul
11

‘get over it: this is who obama is’

James Warren (The Atlantic): From his community organizing days to the Illinois State Senate, Barack Obama has always put pragmatic deal-making above ideology, even when it angered allies

As President Obama is pilloried by the left, including by bloggers and editorial writers, for supposedly selling them out during debt ceiling negotiations, a reality check is desperately needed.

Get over it, guys and gals, and remember whom you’re fuming over: a deal-making community organizer.

Recognize this man? In a showdown with ideological enemies, he fashioned compromises which made some Democratic allies apoplectic. Republicans weren’t happy, either, with what he wrought but grudgingly realized there were few alternatives.

Throughout he exhibited a preternatural calm, always seeking some common ground among disparate interests as if compromise was a goal in and of itself, not any diminution of principle as some Democrats thought.

Yes, that’s our president, the man at the center of the improbable Debt Debate of 2011. But it was also State Senator Barack Obama a decade ago. The equally rancorous issue back then was the death penalty and the setting was the Illinois legislature. Not much about him has changed.

“His ideological inclinations are liberal but, as far as being a politician, he’s about getting things done. He was always pragmatic and about getting things done,” said Peter Baroni, a Republican attorney-law professor-lobbyist in Chicago who had a bird’s eye view of Obama while serving as legal counsel to Republicans in the Illinois Senate and to its Judiciary Committee.

Full article here

Thanks Loriah

04
Jul
11

dropping in

More here

12
Feb
11

1993

 

08
Feb
11

‘obama’s new york’




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