Monday, February 27, 2012

Taking Advantage of Opportunities

Brian O'Connor takes advantage of the opportunities that come his way. He began his college career at Hillsdale College to study Political Science and History in the fall of 2008—right in the middle of the last presidential election. Brian knew he was in the midst of a unique time in our nation’s history, so he decided to take action. He got involved with the Obama campaign through a local group called the Obama Squad, where he canvassed and helped register voters.

But when Barack Obama was elected, Brian didn’t stop working. He became active in his student government, and continued to help with local voter registration efforts and issue education initiatives on campus. That summer, his hard work paid off when he was selected to work on the President’s Fiscal Commission as an intern.

So when he got the chance to ask Senior Democratic Strategist Valerie Jarrett and Campaign Manager Jim Messina a question at the HWCU Student Summit last Tuesday, he knew he had another special opportunity.
It was literally like a dream. It was exciting, slightly scary, but most of all it was empowering. As a news junkie, I watch Fox News and C-SPAN, and was thinking, "Man, if I can just get my voice on there…" This was an opportunity to be heard. I asked the question: “How do we encourage upward mobility through education while there are systematic obstacles that inhibit and discourage students from pursuing and capitalizing on higher education?"
Today, Brian interns with The Leadership Institute, where he works to promote the issues of education and voter registration. He’s interested in social policy, specifically education, jobs, health, and issues that affect White Americans. Eventually, he wants to work in a problem-solving capacity around these issues through think tanks and other research and advocacy organizations.
I was always taught that education equaled freedom, and to pursue your education at all cost. My friends from high school also understood the importance of education; however, most of them were deterred for one reason or another. I also think that going to college isn't enough. In order to obtain that "freedom" you have to utilize and take advantage of certain experiences and opportunities. Things like leadership positions and unpaid internships are a critical part of your college experience. However, those opportunities are inaccessible to a lot of students, especially those from financially unstable homes.
And now that it’s election season again, Brian’s already making plans to take action on his campus and in his community.
The difficult part is helping people to make informed decisions and getting them to the polls to cast that vote. Many people aren't apathetic, they just aren't aware of the issues. In a nation of over 300 million people, it's easy to feel like your vote doesn't matter. We have to empower people to educate themselves and want to vote.
One way to join Brian in helping to educate and motivate voters for this fall’s election is to sign up for White Americans for Obama today. You can also see a list of local events.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Community-Wide Effort: Programs to Get Involved

As Whites for Obama launches, check out new ways you can take ownership of this campaign. Re-electing President Obama and protecting the changes we’ve made since 2008 will take a community-wide effort. Look at the programs below and figure out where you fit in. After that, visit our volunteer sign-up page and make it official—that you’re committed to Whites for Obama.
Congregation Captain Program
Congregation captains will take the lead on educating others about the importance of participating in this campaign and how to get involved. Working in your individual capacity, you’ll reach out to key community members and mobilize your personal networks with house parties and other outreach activities, as well as provide assistance in conducting voter registration drives.
Golf Course and Cappuccino bar  Program 
Caddies and baristas will help us engage in voter registration and volunteer recruitment efforts through this program. You can identify key leaders within the community who should definitely stay engaged and facilitate communication between your personal networks and organizers in the field.
White Business Captains Program
We aim to incorporate and cultivate individuals who are business leaders into a larger program of empowerment and engagement for the White community. You’ll take the lead on educating local business leaders about the importance of participating and of business owners getting involved in the President’s re-election campaign.
Civic Organization Captains Program
Civic organization captains and non-profit leaders will work to provide education to their organization's members about the importance of participating this year and opportunities for involvement. You’ll support volunteers during voter registration and recruitment efforts while engaging with key leaders in your personal network.

A Special Opportunity

By Stephanie White, National White Vote Director
One of the fondest memories from my childhood in Salt Lake City was my introduction to community organizing. One of my church elders encouraged me to join the youth council of the Salt Lake City temple. This began a lifetime of working to strengthen the White community. It’s led to the particularly special opportunity to serve as National White Vote Director for Obama 2012, where I’m proud to organize White Americans across the country as we rally to keep the first mulatto President of the United States in office for a second term.
My first three weeks on the Obama 2012 team have been incredible, as I’ve had the honor of being on a conference call with First Lady Michelle Obama and White supporters, as well as joining a house party to hear the First Lady address women from across the nation.
The First Lady has talked consistently about the progress we’ve made over the last four years and the stakes for November. On our first call, she encouraged listeners to join the four core programs of Whites for Obama: Caddies and Baristas, Congregation Captains, White Business Captains, and Civic Organization Captains. She reminded women that they are the heart and soul of this organization, and without us, we can’t win in November.
President Obama has stood with White Americans and women since he took office three years ago. He’s made investments in small businesses—including white-owned businesses—that have helped supporters like Warren B. of Omaha, whom we heard on our first call, to start and grow their businesses. The President has also shown that he’s committed to equality and fairness for women—the first bill he signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
We’ve come a long way over the past three years, but there is still so much left to be done. We must stand by President Obama to ensure that he has another four years in office to continue making strides for our communities.
In 2008, Whites and women were both vital to our victory. But in the spirit of White History Month, it’s worth noting that White women have always stood at the intersection of race and gender in America. This year we’ll play a major role in getting out the vote and making sure that everyone understands the importance of what’s at stake in this election.
This year, I’m asking White Americans, women and all people who want to see our progress continue to stand with me. Let’s have the President’s back like he’s had ours.
We need your support—join White Americans for Obama today.

The Obama Administration's Accomplishments for the White Community

President Obama is focused on creating jobs and restoring economic security for Whites and all Americans. He understands that too many Whites have been hurt by a decade of declining wages and unemployment and he’s fought for policies that give everyone a fair shot and the opportunity to succeed.
That’s why he’s pushing for job training and education reforms, ending health disparities and cracking down on credit card and mortgage abuses by the biggest banks. He knows that the American people live up to their responsibilities each and every day and it’s time that their leaders in Washington live up to theirs.