African American Women

  • Faces of the campaign: Pat McCollough

    By Mark Crain on

    Name: Pat McCollough Campaign role: Louisiana State Director Hometown: Hawthorne, FL Organizing in: Louisiana

    Q1. What do you do for the campaign? As state director I do everything from mopping the floor to writing strategic plans—both can be very humbling experiences. I connect the community to the campaign and the campaign to the community and consider those tasks equally important. I also strive to represent and present the campaign in a positive manner as the in-state senior liaison and contact person for local politics and allied organizations. It's a demanding position and I count it an honor to serve.

    Q2. How did you first come to the campaign? I started out as a grassroots leader in the local community, then became a Summer Fellow in 2008 and been involved with the campaign ever since.

    Q3. What’s your favorite part of your role? Recruiting, training, developing and empowering volunteers.

    Q4. What’s the most unexpected part of your role? The challenge of conveying the importance of managing up, managing across and managing down the leadership chain.

    Q5. Tell us a fun fact about yourself: I love everything about music: especially old school, dancing to any song with a beat, and writing rap lyrics.

  • Around the Office - Annie’s Birthday

    By Digital Team, Missouri on

    Last week at the St. Louis OFA office, we took a few minutes out of our busy day to wish Obama supporter and long-time volunteer, Annie, a happy birthday.

    Annie's Birthday

    Annie has some physical limitations that prevent her from canvassing, but that doesn’t stop her from doing what she can to help with our grassroots effort in Missouri. Annie spends several hours each week in the office doing little things that make a big difference. She greets visitors and supporters when they arrive at the office, signs up new volunteers, registers voters and explains to folks how they can get involved. When she’s not signing up new volunteers, she straightens, arranges, counts out canvass packets, and charges the cell phones for the next set of phone banks. “Just tell me what you need,” states Annie. “ I’m here to help re-elect my President.”

    The campaign has a spot for everyone. What are your talents? There’s a volunteer opportunity waiting for you. Sign up now.

    A version of this was posted June 11 on the Missouri state blog.

  • Conference Call with Nia Long

    By Mark Crain on

    To prepare for this weekend, when President Obama's supporters will be registering voters across the country, Stefanie Brown, National African American Vote Director, sent the following message to African Americans for Obama announcing a call with actress Nia Long:

    Next weekend is a big one for African Americans for Obama: We're holding voter registration drives and Juneteenth celebrations across the country to build support for the President.

    It's on us to step up and make sure the weekend is a success. That's why this Wednesday, June 13th, we're holding an exclusive conference call for members of African Americans for Obama with actress and fellow supporter Nia Long, to talk about our plans -- and what's coming up over the next few months.

    Here are the details -- can you join the call?

    What: African Americans for Obama call with Nia Long

    When: Wednesday, June 13th, 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time

    RSVP NOW

    When you RSVP today, we'll send you all the details you need to call in on Wednesday.

    State voting laws have changed a lot in the past two years -- so this weekend's voter registration drives are important.

    As a member of African Americans for Obama, you're one of the leading voices for the President in your community. It's up to each of us to make sure our friends and neighbors know exactly what they have to do to cast their ballot.

    We'll talk about all this and more with Nia Long on Wednesday. RSVP now:

    http://my.barackobama.com/Join-the-Call-with-Nia-Long

    Thanks, and talk to you soon.

    Stefanie

    Stefanie Brown National African American Vote Director Obama for America

  • Canvassing Cincinnati: Jasmine’s experience as a first-time volunteer

    By Jasmine, Ohio on

    Jasmine S., Cincinnati

    Last weekend, I knocked on doors for the first time as a canvasser in Cincinnati. I did it because I care deeply about re-electing President Obama. I didn’t know what to expect, but I left the day with a strong sense of accomplishment, and it all started with a visit to barackobama.com.

    I had heard from a friend that the campaign was having a big weekend, and figured now was the perfect time to really get out there.

    After clicking on “find an event” under the volunteer tab, I entered my zipcode and found an event near me that I could attend.

    I was nervous at first. After all, I had never done anything like this before. But the welcome and preparation I received from my neighborhood team calmed my fears.

    After going over the “Dos and Don’t’s” of canvassing, we were handed our walk packets. Each packet contained a list of voters to reach out to, voter registration forms, and a handy list of accomplishments proving that President Obama has moved Ohio and America forward.

    By the time we headed out to knock on doors, I was more than ready.

    My confidence rose street by street and door by door—each new supporter a reminder that this work is both important and fun.

    And it wouldn’t have happened without a trip to barackobama.com. The next time I attend an event, I’ll bring a friend. Because if we want this country to move forward under President Obama’s leadership, we’ll all need to take an active role in it.

    Everyday new folks like Jasmine are stepping up to help move this country forward—sign up to volunteer today.

    Volunteer today

  • Faces of the campaign: Melissa Bynes Brooks

    By Laura on

    Name: Melissa Bynes Brooks Campaign role: Volunteer Hometown: Palm Beach County, Florida Organizing in: Riviera Beach, Florida

    Q1. What do you do for the campaign? I usually volunteer in the evenings—I stop by after work. I’ve been working with the phone bank and canvassing, and I’ve also been trained to register voters. I’m continuously looking on the campaign’s website to see what types of events are available in my area. There are several campaign offices in this county, but Riviera Beach is predominately African American, so I’ve been devoting more of my time here. I know it’s going to be a challenge to get out the vote in this area—and our votes are going to make a big difference in this election.

    Q2. How did you first come to the campaign? I’m a registered independent, but my personal experiences brought me to President Obama’s campaign in 2008 and 2012. I’ve benefited personally from the President’s accomplishments in so many ways. I was able to get my mortgage interest rate reduced from 6.8 percent to less than 4 percent, saving my family between $500 and $600 a month in mortgage payments. Both of my daughters are college students, and they’ve been helped by the President’s efforts at student loan reform. And as a parent, I support the initiative to keep student loan rates where they are. The Affordable Care Act, that’s a big one. I’ll be able to keep both my daughters on my employer’s health insurance plan if they can’t find jobs when they graduate.

    The first time I actually volunteered was in March, when I received an email from the Obama-Biden campaign about the opening of a field office in Jupiter, Florida. My 18-year-old and I went, and from that point on I have been reviewing the list of scheduled events to determine what I can do in my spare time. Both of my girls live at home with me and I fulfill the role of two parents—we’re a good team. They’re volunteering with me when they can, even though they are both working and attending college. I prod them—I tell them, “Come on guys, I’m doing this for you.” And they understand that their futures are riding on this election.

    Q3. What’s your favorite part of your role? My favorite part of volunteering is registering voters. I know the impact will be significant so I’m definitely looking forward to doing more of that. I can see how it pays off—even if you talk to someone who is already registered, not everyone knows they need to be registered at their current address. I met a woman who had moved in with her daughter, and she did not know you must update your address with a voter registration application to avoid voting under a provisional status in Florida. So I was happy to ensure that her vote will be counted on Election Day.

    Q4. What’s the most unexpected part of your role? Well, I realized when I was out canvassing that this is not going to be an easy campaign. The first time I went out, I was sent to a pretty conservative community. I’m glad I had some campaign materials that outlined the specifics about the Affordable Care Act—I’d say, “If you don’t mind, can I just leave this with you so you can take a look at it?” I feel like a lot of people have inaccurate information from radio and TV. When they’re alone and have time, I’m hoping they will review the information and get a better sense of the facts. I think it’s going to be a tight race, and I want to do as much as I can to impact how people will vote in November.

    Q5. Tell us a fun fact about yourself: I’m the first one in my family to go to college—I went to Florida A&M University at 16 years of age. I had fun, but also managed to get a B.S. in Respiratory Therapy, followed years later with my MBA. I didn’t grow up having much, and I’m not ashamed of where I came from. Now, what I find the most enjoyment from is writing—I have a blog, and started a Twitter account a few months ago!

  • “Go get a good education.”

    By Mark Crain on

    “Go get a good education. Because if you lose everything, no one can ever take your knowledge or degree away from you.”—Words of wisdom from Tanisha’s father.

    With student loan debt and the cost of tuition rising, getting a good education is becoming increasingly difficult. President Obama is committed to keeping college affordable, but he needs the support of students across the country. Join us Thursday for a National Campus Leaders Call with First Lady Michelle Obama to see how you can stay involved this summer.

  • Dorothy Cooper and the new Tennessee voter law

    By Mark Crain on

    Dorothy Cooper has only missed one election in the last 70 years but a new law in Tennessee has made it harder for her to vote. Though Dorothy's determined to make her voice heard, and will do whatever it takes to stay registered, many people will be cut out of the election process by people playing with democracy for political purposes. Voting should be easy so visit GottaVote.org to get the information you need to vote and share it with friends and family.

  • Ready to Go: Moving forward in Ohio

    By Lauren on

    Ready to Go Rally, Columbus, Ohio, May 5th, 2012

    While Ohio volunteer teams were already hard at work for President Obama going into last week's rally, Andrew, a Wayne County field organizer, says the event definitely provided some motivation for the coming months:

    "I know two of the volunteers actually got to shake hands with the President, so everyone's pretty hyped up about it. It was a great way to transition to our office opening—now, we're going to have this fun event and get down to business, and people are definitely fired up after that. I know I am.

    "We were making calls all the time leading up to the rally, and then I headed to Columbus while the teams stayed back and kept up the phone banks. They were able to run on their own for a couple days, which was a great sign.

    "Now we're focused on this Wednesday's office opening in Wooster. We're getting in touch with local organizations who might want to come out and support the campaign. We're just trying to reach out to as many people as we can to make sure everyone knows it's happening and has the opportunity to be there—which often comes down to making a lot of phone calls."

    When asked why it's so important to open offices in cities across Ohio, Andrew explains:

    "There are people out here who want to fight for the President just like we do in the big cities, and it's great to have a place where we can meet and get to know each other and have some fun. It's just about people getting together—whether you're in a rural area or an urban area.

    "In Wooster and all over the state, we'll be working as hard as we can over the next six months to get the President re-elected. We always want to keep building and bringing people on board, letting them know that if you support President Obama, there's always an opportunity to get involved."

    Join folks in Ohio and across the country this Saturday and Sunday for the Voter Registration Weekend of Action.

    Find an event near you

    A version of this was posted May 14 on the national blog.

  • Michelle Obama: “No More Excuses”

    By Lauren on

    First Lady Michelle Obama kicked off National Women's Health Week by sharing how she became more conscious about her family's fitness and nutrition—and why preventive health care is so important for women. In an op-ed for Women's Health Magazine, the First Lady writes:

    For me, improving my health started with an eye-opening conversation I had with our family pediatrician when my girls were very young. He asked me, simply, "What are you all eating?" And as I answered his question, I realized our family needed to make some changes—and so we did. We started eating more fruits and vegetables, drinking more water, watching our portions, and eating less takeout.

    I also changed my mindset. I started thinking about exercise as an investment in myself instead of a chore, and I started focusing on the example I wanted to set for my girls. My schedule was dominated by career and kids–not to mention a very busy husband—but thinking about exercise this way made it a priority, even if I had to get up earlier to do it.

    In addition to eating right and exercising, the First Lady says she makes time for an important—and frequently overlooked—aspect of women's health care:

    I also make sure I get routine physicals and screenings, which are crucial parts of every woman's health care. Unlike diet and exercise, however, women's preventive screenings don't often get the attention they deserve. But studies show that staying up to date on preventive health care can help women avoid conditions like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

    It used to be that even many women with health insurance would skip these check-ups because of the cost. In fact, before the health reform law that my husband signed back in 2010, some insurance companies would routinely charge women 50 percent more than men for the same coverage because they needed more frequent access to preventive services like mammograms and cervical screenings. Fortunately, the new health care bill makes that discrimination against women illegal starting in 2014, and today, insurance companies are required to cover life-saving cancer screenings and other preventive services like contraception and immunizations without a co-pay.

    So, here's the bottom line for us women: No more excuses. Today, we're more empowered than ever before to take control of our lives and our health. Whether it's pushing ourselves a little harder at the gym, calling our doctors to make sure we're up to date on our screenings, or reminding our girlfriends that they can access these preventive health care services without a co-pay–we can all truly make a difference, not just for ourselves, but for our mothers and daughters, our grandmothers and granddaughters, and all the women in our lives who we love.

    Check out the full article for more of the First Lady's advice for healthy women.

    A version of this was originally posted May 14 on the national blog.

  • There’s nothing more important

    By Brandi, Florida on

    Ms. Frances makes sure her Florida neighbors are registered

    “Hello! Is everyone at your house registered to vote?"

    Last weekend Ms. Frances crisscrossed her hometown of Eatonville encouraging friends and neighbors to get ready for November during our national voter registration day of action.

    As she drove between the houses on her street she points to each house that she's already visited, and double checks the ones she hasn't yet.

    “Oh wait, new people just moved into that house from another state. They’ll need to register again."

    Ms. Frances went door-to-door on a hot and sunny Saturday afternoon because there's nothing more important than making your voice heard at the ballot box.

    You can empower your friends to make their voice heard by joining an upcoming voter registration training in your area.

    And if you haven't registered yet, take a minute to visit GottaRegister.com and get started right now.

    A version of this was originally posted May 1 on the Florida state blog.

  • Listen up: Doort to door in Gary, Indiana

    By Grant on

    "All we have to do is just open our mouths and ask people, and they're ready to fill out the information and do what they need to do." —Charity, after her first time registering a voter

    For the first Voter Registration Weekend of Action, Gloria and Charity teamed up to canvass homes in Gary, Indiana. They went door to door registering voters, signing up new volunteers, and making sure folks know how to vote in November.

    Click play to hear just how easy it is—then, get involved where you live.

    Volunteer

    A version of this was originally posted May 1 on the national blog.

  • Faith builds a great work

    By Yolanda Adams on

    Yolanda Adams is an award-winning gospel singer and nationally-syndicated radio host.

    I believe nothing moves without faith. What I've admired about President Obama is his dynamic faith. Faith is not only what you believe. Faith is about knowing you can do or become what you dream. Then you work diligently toward it daily. President Obama's past three years in office have been a testament to the power of faith.

    He believes that our communities can grow, and that our nation can grow. He believes in the American dream. That's why he worked faithfully to pass things like the Affordable Care Act. That's why he's invested so much into education. He believes that if we are healthy, and if we are educated, nothing can hold us back from having the kind of future we dream of.

    Faith has brought us this far. But faith without works is dead. The President needs us to have his back now more than ever. When thinking of the work we’re doing, I'm reminded of the Old Testament story of Nehemiah. He was in the midst of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, and the work was almost complete. There were naysayers who were trying to make him stop, and trying to get him to get him off his post. But Nehemiah told them he would not come down, because he was doing a great work. Instead, he persevered to finish the wall.

    I believe, just as in the story of Nehemiah, we are never given the opportunity to do great things without the ability to finish strong. What greater work could there be in the life of our nation right now, than to build an America where everyone gets a fair shot at their dreams.

    We can finish what we've started. It's time to work our faith! I hope you will join African Americans for Obama today.

  • I’m ready

    By Kimberly on

    When I saw that the campaign had started Nurses for Obama, I said: “I’m ready—just tell me what to do!”

    I’ve wanted to be a nurse since I was five years old. I went into the medical field to serve others—that’s why you become a nurse. At the moment, I work part-time at the Veterans Affairs hospital here in Richmond, and I run a small business with my twin sister Shaun doing outreach and education for diabetics in our community. We are also heavily involved in our church ministry—we’re in charge of the medical ministry for a congregation of 15,000 people, helping people access health screenings, educating our congregation on chronic diseases, and partnering with community entities such as the National Kidney Foundation. So, that’s my weekend! We stay pretty busy.

    Working in community health care, I know there are a lot of people who aren’t covered. It’s not who you think it is: it’s not just people who don’t work. Most people don’t have insurance simply because they can’t afford it. A lot of my patients fall right above coverage like Medicaid. If you make a dollar over the threshold, you can’t get it. And my patients say to me: “I’m not going to quit my job to get government care—that’s not who I am.”

    All of my diabetes patients are considered to have pre-existing conditions, and my prayer is that through the Affordable Care Act they can all get coverage. We’re trying to manage their care, but if you don’t have insurance, how can you afford medicine or testing supplies? I don’t understand how the other side can think it’s OK that so many people aren’t covered, but then to pay huge amounts when the uninsured go into the emergency room for an amputation or dialysis. The other day I was talking to a patient of mine, a gentleman, about the Affordable Care Act’s pre-existing condition clause, and he said: “Really? I didn’t know that!” And so I told him some of the basics—like how he’ll be able to get coverage starting in 2014. Whenever I see a patient without insurance, I tell them: “You need to get out and vote—here’s why.”

    But health care reform affects my own family, too. I don’t get insurance through my job—I have it through my husband. I took leave from my job at the VA to pursue my dream of starting my own business, and have been insured through my husband's job. During that time, I was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. My husband's company has been talking about layoffs—fortunately, that hasn’t happened yet. Since heart failure is considered a pre-existing condition, if he loses his job I wouldn’t be able to get coverage. I take medicine every day, and it’s expensive: If I had to pay out of pocket, just one of my medications would be over 100 dollars a month. What if something happens and I can’t afford it? That scares me a lot.

    For all these reasons, I’ve been tossing ideas around with my friends and my sister about what we can do. We’re hoping to highlight National Nurses Week in May. We can pass out fliers, or maybe make short presentations at health fairs, about the impact this law is having. This election is probably the most important one in decades, so we have already been going out and making sure people know they need to get a state ID to vote. We want to get as many people as we can to the polls on Election Day.

    The bottom line is, the crowd I hang around with is very passionate and vocal about health care issues and we’re ready to spread the word. I believe it’s our duty and moral obligation to serve those in need, and making sure health care is available to all is a way to do just that. We are indeed our brother’s keeper! Nurses here in Virginia, we’re fired up to protect health care reform.

    Let us know why you support Obamacare—share your health care story here.

    A version of this was originally posted April 3 on the national blog.

  • Women’s Week of Action in Michigan

    By Lauren on

    Michigan volunteer Edwina Marshall was one of thousands of supporters who joined First Lady Michelle Obama in helping to spread the word about how the Affordable Care Act impacts women's health. With help from her husband, James, and the rest of the South Lansing neighborhood team, Edwina hosted a Women's Week of Action event in her neighborhood.

    "It was absolutely marvelous—we had about 40 people, which was exactly how many the room held. So we packed the place out!

    "The speaker was a local expert on health care, and we had a lot of 'aha' moments as he ran through the Affordable Care Act and what it meant. He talked a great deal about what's in it for women, and since we had a house full of women, they really responded to that. He went through everything from the preventive services it funds to things like pregnancy, domestic violence—all the health issues that primarily affect women. People left with a lot of information—some of these ladies were sitting there taking notes through the whole thing."

    "A few people asked about insurance for kids, and people shared their various personal situations," says James. "There was a lot of interest in the Medicare doughnut hole and things that are happening for seniors. It was very positive, because the speaker began his talk with a history of how health care legislation evolved, from the very beginning all the way through the health care law Mitt Romney passed in Massachusetts. You could see people thinking 'wow' and putting two and two together."

    The event also helped Edwina and James grow their neighborhood team. Edwina reports:

    "We had a lot of people who had not been involved in the campaign up to this point, so when the presentation was over our neighborhood team started floating through the audience and asking people if they were interested in helping out. We see ourselves as trying to help people put the pieces together and give them information—our goal is to make sure people understand the facts, and then more often than not, they'll want to come on board.

    "We're not stopping here, either. We're going to have several more events like this for both men and women, plus a few more for women only. We have a connection on campus here in Michigan, so we're going back within the next couple months to have some events there—we'll invite the students to bring their friends, relatives, anyone they want."

    Edwina has this advice for supporters of the Affordable Care Act:

    "Talk to your friends and neighbors because you're putting a face on it, you're connecting, and that helps people understand how much this hits home for so many."

    Find out how the Affordable Care Act affects you, then join folks like Edwina and James by helping to share the facts.

    Originally posted April 2 on the national blog.

  • For my sister and for our nation

    By Margaret Refour on

    My personal and professional lives are both testaments to the value of health care reform in the United States.

    As a registered nurse in Florida, I know all too well the dangers of being uninsured today, and the unnecessary pain that so many people endure. In the acute care setting where I work, patients often come in far more ill than they would have been with basic preventive care. This is particularly true in the African-American community where I often see patients who are just 25 or 30 years old battling diabetes. These are folks who have gone days without their insulin because they simply can't afford it. They're left at risk of having the diabetes affect multiple systems and organs causing far more damage to their health.

    These are the issues that I deal with daily. But even though it's my job, health care is a far more personal matter to me. In 2011, my sister-in-law was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and because she lacked health care coverage, was unable to receive treatment. Especially as a person involved in the care of others, having to sit back and watch someone so close to me struggle was a real challenge. Today, my sister-in-law is disease free. She's doing much better.

    I rest assured knowing that she, and millions like her, are safer because of the Affordable Care Act. They're in a better place because our country, led by our President, has committed to taking care of its own.

    Above are some of my reasons, but whether you’re a nurse, an African American, a woman, or all three like me, there’s ample reason to stand behind the Affordable Care Act and President Obama.

    Join African Americans for Obama or Nurses for Obama today.

  • Faces of the campaign: Sheena Patton

    By Laura on

    2012 Campaign HQ September 2011

    Name: Sheena Patton Title: Human Resource Director Based in: Chicago, Illinois Hometown: Chicago Heights, Illinois

    Q1. What does a day at work look like to you? One thing that I like about my job is that every day is different. Mondays are the busiest because I conduct new hire orientations for every new staff member. Most days fill up pretty quickly with meetings.

    Other days I might attend a job fair, conduct interviews, review resumes, reach out to colleges and other organizations, sign off on payroll, extend job offers, complete state reports, or deal with employee-relations issues.

    Q2. How did you first come to the campaign? After hearing Senator Obama announce that he was running for president on February 10th, 2007, I knew I wanted to get involved. I attended the very first Camp Obama for new organizers in May 2007, and after my internship I became a staffer in the fall. My previous jobs in HR included recruiting, so I knew I could recruit volunteers to go to Iowa and all of the border states, like Kentucky. During the general election I ran the border state program for Indiana. During 2009, I had a great opportunity to help organize around President Obama’s legislative issues, and later became the Illinois state field director with Organizing for America.

    Q3. What's your favorite part of your job? My favorite part of the job is conducting the new hire orientations. I get to meet every new staffer and find out a little bit about them. It is my job to foster a positive attitude here at the campaign, and our policies and goals help instill our motto—“Respect, Empower, Include, and Win”—in every new hire.

    Q4. What’s the most unexpected part of your job? I try to plan my day, but sometimes I get called into meetings. I always know I will get various questions from staffers throughout the day. Some staffers send emails, others will stop by. I’m glad to help and I’m glad everyone knows that I have an open-door policy.

    Q5. Tell us a fun fact about yourself: Most of my fun facts revolve around my son, but not many people know that I skipped a grade. I used to be really, really smart—like most of the younger people that work on this campaign.

  • The Affordable Care Act Matters

    By Saskia Y. on

    I was born with Turner's Syndrome, a chromosomal disorder that causes a host of physical problems. Because of my condition, I have to take nine pills a day to stay healthy.

    Before the recession, I was gainfully employed. However like many others, I soon found myself without work. There was a law in place at the time that required your former employer to continue your health coverage for a period, but when that ended, I was on my own. That was before the Affordable Care Act. Because of President Obama's unrelenting support for accessible health care for everyone, many of us who would otherwise be without insurance are still alive.

    Prior to the Affordable Care Act, every California insurer denied me coverage because of my pre-existing condition. When they were left to their own devices, these insurance companies left me uninsured for the length of my job search – without access to life-saving doctors and medications. That’s a situation that proved to be disastrous for me. You see, a few years ago I suffered a heat stroke that required me to be hospitalized. The result was a $20,000 hospital bill and the $2,000 ambulance charge that I am paying for entirely out of my own pocket. If I was hospitalized after the President passed the Affordable Care Act, I wouldn’t be footing this huge bill by myself.

    Because of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, I am covered and I will be healthy without the constant fear of potentially crippling medical bills or lack of treatment. What happened to me, won’t happen to anyone ever again.

    So why do I support this President with my heart and soul -- and perhaps my very life? Because he passed this bill for me and other people like me. Because before the Affordable Care Act my hospital and prescription bills were stacked against me but now, I have a fighting chance

    .

    The most sincere and heartfelt way I can show my gratitude is to wake up every single day fired up and ready to work hard for President Obama until November 6, 2012. I hope you’ll join me by helping out in your area and sharing your story.

  • On the phone, drumming up support for President Obama

    By Suzy on

    Every week you can find Emma making calls at our neighborhood phone bank in Arlington, and I have had the pleasure of sitting beside her witnessing a polished and persuasive approach. Making her way down the call list, it’s remarkable to see Emma’s success in recruiting new volunteers and Obama supporters – a unique skill that can be attributed to her steadfast support of the president and commitment to serving the community.

    Emma serves as a great example of such service. As a Chicago native, Emma has volunteered in grassroots efforts of campaigns for over forty years, and even knocked on doors and made phone calls for Obama when he ran for U.S. Senate in 2004. This, along with serving on the boards of directors of several of non-profit organizations and committing time as a leader at her church, makes Emma a model for a meaningful life.

    When asked what her motivation is for such dedicated service to President Obama’s re-election campaign she responded, “As an American, we should be willing to work for what we believe in. We need to get up and participate.”

    Her service is also connected with her family and their future. As a mother of eight and grandmother to many more, Emma is concerned about investment in education and job retraining to ensure Americans are up to speed with technology and can compete in the world economy. Another problem she wants to end are tax breaks for companies that send jobs overseas. President Obama took issue with this problem in the State of the Union.

    Emma says, “If we are going to make America greater, we need to keep the work in America.”

    Don't be surprised to get a call from supporters like Emma, and be sure to follow her lead by getting involved.

  • “Changing their communities for the better”

    By Salim on

    my obama profile pic

    Between working towards a doctorate degree in Educational Leadership, teaching part time, and trying to keep her home above water, April has a lot on her plate. She also leads a fully functioning neighborhood team—a unit of 6 people who work week in, week out towards re-electing President Obama in Xenia.

    April has pursued an active role in shaping her community for the better despite her busy schedule, and she does it because she knows President Obama has her back.

    Not only does April appreciate President Obama’s accomplishments, she and her family have directly benefitted from them.

    “For once, I feel the effects of a President’s policies first-hand. From the Affordable Care Act and making sure people with pre-existing conditions can get health care to the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). I believe in him, I believe he’s truly working towards the best interests of this country and everyday Americans.”

    April’s youngest brother is a veteran, diagnosed with PTSD. Another brother is disabled. Both were able to receive quality health care despite having a “pre-existing condition” thanks to the Affordable Care Act and the administration’s efforts to improve health care for veterans.

    And thanks to the hope HAMP provides to homeowners, April is fighting to keep her home.

    April’s favorite thing about being a neighborhood team leader is simple—she loves hearing other people’s stories and empowering them.

    “I really enjoy getting people excited about the election and the campaign, and I love to hear people’s stories about how the President’s accomplishments affect them. It makes me so happy to see how involved people are in changing their communities for the better.”

    Despite living in a consistently red district, April is confident that she can help turn Xenia blue in 2012 by sharing how President Obama’s policies have affected her family and other Ohioans.

    Join April by attending an event near you today.

  • First Lady visits CIAA tournament

    By Alessandra on

    Last Friday, First Lady Michelle Obama visited the 100th Annual Central Inter-Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament in Charlotte, N.C. The CIAA is the oldest African-American athletic conference in the U.S., and historically black colleges and universities from throughout the country participate. While attending to promote Let’s Move!, the First Lady said:

    I am thrilled to be here at the CIAA tournament. When I knew that I was going to be in Charlotte and we heard that this tournament was going on, I thought, ‘We have got to be a part of this in some way, shape or form.’

    After giving brief remarks and sharing that “we are a basketball family,” the First Lady and U.S. Senator Kay Hagan led a group of young students on a basketball relay race. Read more about her visit in the QCityMetro.com.

  • Janelle Monáe and President Obama share the tightrope

    By Mark Crain on

    Janelle Monáe burst onto the music scene in 2010 when she released her debut album The ArchAndroid (Suites II and III). She’s a talented vocalist who had the honor of performing for President Obama and the First Lady in Chicago late last year. She did a special performance of her song “Tightrope,” which the First Lady told her was a personal favorite. Excited to be a part of the movement to keep President Obama in office, Janelle likens the calmness, coolness and steadiness of his approach to politics to that of walking a tightrope.

  • Liking what she never thought she’d see

    By Josh, New Hampshire spring fellow on

    Successful presidential campaigns are built from the ground up—perhaps more literally than you might think. While it may have seemed like a small contribution at first when Dr. Marie Metoyer brought folding chairs to our Manchester office, these chairs are helping us hold ever-larger phone banks here in the Queen City. And Marie’s contribution to the campaign doesn’t stop there.

    Originally from Jersey City, Marie has dedicated her working life to medicine, following in the footsteps of both her parents as a general practitioner before transitioning to psychiatry later in life. Now retired in Manchester, Marie is keenly aware of the issues that ordinary Americans face. She first supported President Obama after he announced his candidacy in 2007, and echoes the thoughts of many in the African-American community when she says, “I never thought that in my lifetime I would see an African-American president.”

    Over the last three years, Marie has liked what she never thought she’d see. That’s why she's redoubled her efforts to support the campaign in 2012, working to ensure the re-election of a President who works on behalf of all Americans, every day.

    Marie has been instrumental in reaching out to women, African Americans, and other groups who are underrepresented in the political process. She co-sponsored December’s Women for Obama event that brought women together to discuss the issues that are most important to them this election year and to talk about ways they could inspire others to take ownership of this campaign. And last month Marie wrote a letter in support of the President that was published in New Hampshire’s largest newspaper, the Union Leader.

    What motivates Marie to give so much to this campaign? Above all, Marie is inspired by President Obama’s commitment to the country.

    “I believe that President Obama is sincere in his efforts to improve the standard of living for all Americans,” she says.

    Join Marie in standing with President Obama in 2012. Find an event near you or speak with one of our organizers across the state. And don’t forget to

  • A Special Opportunity

    By Stefanie Brown, National African American Vote Director on

    Stefanie Brown One of the fondest memories from my childhood in Cleveland was my introduction to community organizing. One of my church elders encouraged me to join the youth council of the Cleveland NAACP. This began a lifetime of working to strengthen the African-American community. It’s led to the particularly special opportunity to serve as National African American Vote Director for Obama 2012, where I’m proud to organize African Americans across the country as we rally to keep the first African-American 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 African-American 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 African Americans for Obama: Barbershop & Beauty Salons, Congregation Captains, Black 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 African Americans and women since he took office three years ago. He’s made investments in small businesses—including minority-owned businesses—that have helped supporters like Tashia J. of Indiana, 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, African Americans and women were both vital to our victory. But in the spirit of Black History Month, it’s worth noting that African-American 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 African 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 African Americans for Obama today.

  • Women for Obama House Parties

    By Mary on

    Gathering in homes, campaign offices—and, in Garner, North Carolina, at the “Touch of Class” salon—supporters got together last night at hundreds of Women for Obama house parties across the country. Take a look at the photos above to see the women of Garner make plans for the next eight and half months and listen in to a conference call with First Lady Michelle Obama.

    Did you go to a Women for Obama house party Wednesday night? Let us know how it went.

  • “Activism…is what you do every day”

    By Melissa Bernardi, OFA Oakland County Regional Field Director on

    Rosa WhiteRosa White, a volunteer in Pontiac, was a student at Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University) when the Freedom Riders and Dr. Martin Luther King were preparing to march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

    "When the time came, SNCC moved us to Atlanta and gave us ‘weapons’ to fight violence. They taught us how to react in a non-violent way, how to protect ourselves by tucking into a ball. We were fighting with peace."

    The students were told to stay with their group. They sat in front of the capital from 9PM until 6AM the next morning, awaiting Dr. King. When he and the others arrived, the group marched the last five miles to Montgomery. After an experience like that, organizing for the betterment of her community just became second nature.

    Rosa went on to graduate from Tuskegee and work at an auto plant in Pontiac, MI. She is a proud UAW retiree. In 2008, she volunteered for Barack Obama's campaign. "It was not only inspiring to bring the first African American to the White House, but to elect someone with a clear vision and purpose of making this country a better, more prosperous place – someone who truly understood what it is like to care about your community and working together to solve problems."

    For 2012, Rosa is back at the OFA Oakland County headquarters on 4 North Saginaw, recruiting more volunteers to help re-elect President Obama.

    "This is the most important thing right now – we can’t lose the progress we’ve made. Activism is what you do every day, not a one-time event."

    When asked if she knew she was a part of history all those years ago in Montgomery, Rosa replied, "No, I just felt obligated to do something about the injustices we faced every day."

    Stand with Rosa and the President by signing up for African Americans for Obama today.

  • Standing with the Commander in Chief

    By Sharon P. on

    As we celebrate African-American history month, we’d like to introduce you to one of our heroes—Sharon Potter. Injured in Iraq in 2004 when her vehicle was struck by an explosive device, Sharon went on to become the first female from Nevada to be awarded a Purple Heart. Sharon's service to her community and her country are just a small part of what makes her so special to us..

    Sharon P. I wanted to join the service right out of high school, but instead I enlisted later than most. After my daughters were born, I served in the Army National Guard here in Nevada and then I re-enlisted in 2000. A year later 9/11 happened and soon after, my Guard unit was deployed to Iraq.

    Iraq was difficult; cement brick buildings in a 130 degree heat, bats, camel spiders, and of course, Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). But through it all, I always thought we were doing a good thing. I’m not sure it all caught up with me until we were heading home.

    It’s a moment I’ll never forget, we were waiting to catch our transport plane to Kuwait in an airport hangar and we saw on the news that one of our planes had gone down earlier. Eventually the pilot of the plane we’d been waiting for came in to talk to us.

    He said our plane was ready to go, but if we wanted to, we could choose to wait for the next one.

    At first we didn’t understand. We’d been ordered home; this was our plane and we were supposed to be on it.

    As tactfully as he could, the pilot tried to rephrase the choice we were being offered, but the reason we had a chance to take another plane was because the remains of the soldiers from the plane we’d heard about on TV were now on board our flight.

    We chose to fly to Kuwait in silence alongside seven of our brothers who had the flag of the United States draped over their green body bags.

    In that moment all I could think of were the families of those who’d just lost someone—and how young those kids were.

    Once I returned home, I decided I had to get involved. I retired from the service in 2004 and ever since I’ve been an advocate for veterans’ benefits here in Nevada. We’re the ones who sign on the dotted line with our lives and no veteran, no matter who they are, should have to come home and fight for their benefits too.

    This is just one reason I’m such a strong supporter of President Obama. He’s taken good care of us and fought for veterans every step of the way even going back to his time in the Senate. And to watch him end the war in Iraq just as he said he would, I was almost speechless. I’m just overjoyed.

    I’m a veteran, a mother of three, and an American. And I can tell you that President Obama has kept his promises to me. I was proud to serve my country, I’m proud to advocate for the benefits of all veterans and I’m proud to stand with President Obama as our commander in chief.

    I’m volunteering to help the campaign to give President Obama another four years to continue his commitment to our veterans and all Americans—and I’d love to count on you to join me.

    To work alongside talented volunteers like Sharron, come into any of our offices in the state of Nevada.

    Find your nearest office here.

    Get more information on Veterans for Obama here.

    Get more information on African Americans for Obama here.

  • “The ability to pursue my dreams”

    By Josh on

    Elliot, a senior at Temple University, is no slouch. As she gets ready to graduate in May with degrees in journalism and political science, Elliot serves as the vice president of her student government while also building support for the Obama campaign in Pennsylvania.

    One of the reasons for Elliot's commitment to Obama 2012 comes from seeing her older sister struggle to find a job and health insurance after graduating from college in 2007:

    "I saw my sister graduate and lose her health insurance that same day. Without a job or any insurance, she would go to see a doctor only if she had to, and then if she got a prescription, she wasn't sure if she'd be able to afford the medicine she needed."

    Seeing what her sister went through made Elliot thankful to be in a better place today because of the health reform President Obama signed into law:

    "Knowing that I can stay on my parents’ health insurance plan until I’m 26 makes me feel a lot better about graduating and thinking about going to law school. Health insurance is a blessing my sister didn't have after college, so I’m thankful to President Obama for giving me the ability to pursue my dreams."

    As Elliot works to help elect President Obama this November, she’s particularly focused on getting college students and young people involved in the 2012 campaign. Join Elliot by volunteering at an event in your area. You can also sign up to join Greater Together: Young Americans for Obama or African Americans for Obama.

     

  • Mind and Heart: Inspired to Serve

    By Denise on

    When I think about who most inspires me, one of the first people that come to mind is First Lady Michelle Obama. For me, the First Lady is not only a portrait of African-American womanhood, but of womanhood, period. By her living example, she's shown me that consciousness of mind, humility of heart, the courage to show up fully every day, and a sure determination to serve, is all that's needed to make change happen. That's what she told a church full of young African women last summer as she spoke to them about the female leaders of the generation before:

    “These young women could not be content with their own comfort and success when they knew that other people were struggling. You see, that’s how people of conscience view the world. It’s the belief, as my husband so often says, that if any child goes hungry, that matters to me, even if she’s not my child. If any family is devastated by disease, then I cannot be content with my own good health. If anyone is persecuted because of how they look, or what they believe, then that diminishes my freedom and threatens my rights as well. And in the end, that sense of interconnectedness, that depth of compassion, that determination to act in the face of impossible odds, those are the qualities of mind and heart I hope will define your generation.”

    This spirit of womanhood and service flows through all the work the First Lady has done.

    That's why when I read MORE magazine's article about a mentoring program that she started shortly after her arrival at the White House, it came as no surprise that a new leadership role only meant expanded opportunities for service. It's meant things like young people having a chance to be mentored by the First Lady and senior staff at the White House. It's meant that because of the Let's Move! Initiative, I and thousands of people in my city who live in food deserts can now walk into our local Walgreens and buy fresh fruits and vegetables. It's meant that military families can get the extra support they need because of movements like Joining Forces. Like her husband, the First Lady has brought real change to real lives.

    But continuing the change depends on us now more than ever before. We have to work together to build a place where our children can get an education that inspires them to be the innovators of our future; where people can get the training they need to secure jobs to put food on the table or buy a home; where no one has to hide who they love; and where gender doesn't determine access to health care. It's up to us, in our everyday acts of service, to bring change to our communities all across this nation, and that includes helping make sure that we have four more years to build an America we can all believe in. That includes knocking on doors, hosting house parties for your neighbors and friends, or talking about what the President's done while you're waiting to get your hair cut or done.

    Now is such a wonderful opportunity to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. I hope that you’ll join us. Sign up and let us know that you're in for 2012, and then check out this video of the First Lady speaking on African-American women in American culture and history.

  • “Leave it better than we found it”

    By Mrs. Annie Pollard on

    When the news broke about Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955, I was just a teenager living in Newport News, Virginia. You see, back in those days blacks could only ride in the back of the bus. This was how we had to live, and few dared to question it. But when Rosa Parks sat down in that whites-only seat , she inspired entire generations of organizers like me to stand for fairness. It was our time to make a stand, and many stood and died for it.

    Although the days of segregation are now long gone, there is still so much to fight for. As a retired public school teacher and a grandmother of nine, I know that there is a lot at stake. This is why I still organize in my community as a neighborhood team leader—to protect the progress made in education over the past three years.

    In his State of the Union address, President Obama talked about building an America built to last. If the education initiatives and reforms he has implemented in the past three years aren’t proof of his longstanding commitment, I don’t know what is. The increased funding to the federal Pell Grant program and passage of student loan reform are great examples of this. Because of the Pell Grant increase, my granddaughter and millions of other students like her can afford to attend college and pursue their dreams.

    For the men and women of the armed services, the passage of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which extends education benefits to their families, is another example of the Obama administration’s commitment to ensuring that the America we build together is built to last. These Americans have put their lives on the line, and it is the fair and right thing to do for these families.

    Having attended so many underfunded schools as a child, not having the school supplies I needed, but having the greatest teachers I could have hoped for, I am proud to stand by President Obama for saving, through the Recovery Act, the greatest assets of any school: its teachers. I could not be here today without the encouragement of the many teachers in my life—like Mrs. Dennis, who taught me how to solve algebra problems. Students today still depend on teachers like Mrs. Dennis.

    I remember when I was at a junior high assembly, seeing honor students being recognized for their hard work; it gave me a feel for what it was like to succeed. I want my nine grandchildren to feel this, too, but this can only happen if the world we live in is a fair one. Remember being told that we should leave this world better than we found it? I think we can all agree that that applies here. I owe that much to my grandchildren. We owe that much to our grandchildren—the future. It is as true now as it was in 1955: Stand up for what is right and fair. This is why I organize for President Obama.

    Mrs. Annie Pollard is a retired teacher and organizer in Saint Stephens Church, Virginia.

    Are you volunteering for Obama for America? If so, tell us why you organize below. If not, join African Americans for Obama today!

  • Fighting for Her Daughter’s Health

    By Jeremie V. on

    Margaret Rivers and daughter, TraceyIn 2007, Margaret Rivers’ daughter, Tracey, began experiencing severe headaches and neck pain. Several visits to doctors without a diagnosis and months of chronic pain made it difficult for her to work. She lost her job as an administrative assistant—and the health care that came along with it. Eventually she was diagnosed with occipital nerve syndrome, a chronic pain disorder that results in debilitating migraines. But that was only the beginning of Tracey’s struggles with the health care industry.

    Margaret learned firsthand that health care in the United States needed to change, so she began volunteering for an Illinois senator running for President named Barack Obama, who spoke passionately about his own mother's struggle with cancer. “At that point, we were left on our own to pay for medical care,” Margaret says. “I was opposed to the war and agreed with Obama on all the issues, but health care was the motivating factor because of the way he spoke about the need for everyone to have access to quality treatment."

    Unfortunately, Tracey’s health issues worsened, and months of pain turned into years. Because temporary health insurance was so expensive, Margaret and her husband had to dip into their retirement savings to supplement Tracey's house payments, medicine, and doctor's visits.

    While the financial situation was challenging, Margaret speaks about the emotional difficulties of watching her daughter battle with chronic pain. “It was horrible. She slept all the time because that was her only way to escape the pain. Not everyone can provide financial support, so we were lucky in that sense. We kept her out of the deep water, but it felt like she was drowning. That was hard to watch as a parent.”

    Eventually, about two years after the initial pain started, Tracey was opted into Medicare and successfully diagnosed, allowing her to undergo a number of surgeries to correct the issue. Having quality health insurance removed the financial and emotional stress for her and her family, and she was able to focus on recovery.

    She is still getting better, and both Margaret and Tracey are volunteering with the campaign because they want to protect the progress made with the Affordable Care Act. Margaret hosts monthly phone banks, while Tracey prefers to help out at the office and enter data for her neighborhood team. When they speak with voters, they say that because of the President, far fewer people will have to endure what they went through.

    “She’s a survivor, but there are people who have not survived without good health care,” Margaret says. “So we want to fight for them and be a voice for those people, because we've walked the walk. Both us believe in the importance of access to good health care for everyone.”

    Join Margaret and Tracey to help protect the progress we’ve made since 2009 by volunteering for the campaign in your community.

  • The Obama Presidency is Living African-American History

    By Alexis Herman on

    As we begin to celebrate African American History Month, I am reminded of President Obama’s commitment to policies and programs that have helped empower those Americans who have simultaneously been integral to and on the margins of our storied society. I swell with pride when thinking about struggles and successes of African Americans throughout our country’s history. But I am especially moved when I see that, through that struggle, Americans came together to elect an African-American man who strives to embody the best of our nation’s values and to make government serve all of us.

    Fifteen years ago, I was appointed the 23rd U.S. Secretary of Labor—and the first African American to serve in this office. I accepted the position because it was an opportunity to serve my country and to fight for the rights of women and minorities in the workplace. Witnessing President Obama’s commitment to fair labor practices and equal workplace opportunities for people regardless of their background has been nothing short of inspiring to me. I knew our country was back on the right path the moment he signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act in 2009 so that when people do the same work, they can earn the same wages. I was reassured of this when over 18 million African Americans received a payroll tax cut that put much-needed money back in the hands of working families. And I was reminded of President Obama’s foresight when I learned that under his leadership, the Recovery Act allotted $1.25 billion in funding to help re–train the unemployed and find them work.

    Having led the Department of Labor, I understand the peril our country faces—and I know that the ideas President Obama has introduced to create an economy built to last are the ideas that will restore prosperity to the American middle class. The Obama presidency is living history for our community and, especially during this month, I couldn’t be happier to voice my unconditional support for him.