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For Obama Backers, The Work Continues

Black Voice News.com, News Report , Chris Levister Posted: Jul 20, 2009

When Linnie Frank Bailey and Jose Medina co-founded Obama Riverside in the run up to the 2008 presidential election, they worked the phones and knocked on doors throughout the Inland region on behalf of Barack Obama.

With their man now in the White House, Bailey and Medina might be expected to relax a bit.

Instead the community organizers are as charged up as ever, eager to take up the presidential call first voiced during the historic campaign -- for a new spirit of volunteerism in America.

What Obama has said quite clearly is that we need everyone to stay involved and continue to push and continue the hope, said Bailey.

Bailey and Medina are among some 50 former Obama campaign volunteers from the Inland Empire who have maintained contact with each other with the aim of lending their time to a variety of causes, from community organizing and campaigns focused on advancing Obamas agenda on health care reform to job creation, and clean energy to bread and butter tasks that serve the needy.

Were at ground zero in the Inland Empire with some of the nations highest unemployment and foreclosure rates, said Bailey. We all know someone who is hurting having either lost their home, job or is facing great financial uncertainty.

Unfortunately some of those people are former Obama Riverside volunteers who are now unemployed or have lost their homes.

"We cant ignore the fact that our own communities are in peril. Recently Bailey volunteered at a local shelter. She came away shocked and empowered.

I was amazed by the large number of African-Americans in desperation. Students, homeless families, displaced workers, and senior citizens are lining up at shelters and food pantries which themselves are struggling to provide emergency assistance.

Even before his inauguration, Obama set up a group called Organizing for America and told supporters in a video charge:

The movement youve built is too important to stop growing now.

With the help of Organizing America Obama Riverside is aggressively seeking volunteers willing to donate their time and energy. Were looking for like minded people. Health care professionals, educators, laborers, young people, people willing to roll up their sleeves at shelters and nursing facilities, in front of computers. The grassroots organization is also actively building a slate of like minded political candidates for the 2012 election.

This past election we witnessed history in the Riverside area. The Obama Riverside grassroots movement brought together various backgrounds and ideologies. Those energies are now being channeled to advance the administrations commitment to make sure every American has access to high quality health care. Its one of the most important issues of our time.

Bailey sees the rapidly declining health status of Californians and people in the Inland Empire as a microcosm of whats happening in communities across America.

Youre seeing an administration that is grassroots driven, communicating directly with the American people in ways no administration has ever communicated before says, Bailey.

Some have taken to calling Organizing America Obama 2.0. The entity operates independently from the Democratic National Committee headquarters although political analysts see it as a political organization already putting together the framework for a 2012 re-election campaign.

With a contact list of more than 13 million e-mail addresses of those who backed his presidency, and a growing social network tied together through Facebook, YouTube and other internet links, Obama emerged from the electoral contest with a grassroots organization of startling potential.

Medina, who served as a delegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, sees a potent political and social force for America.

A lot of people got involved in the election process, inspired by President Obama. What weve got is an army in reserve, said Medina.

The president has given people on all fronts a feeling of hope, creating desire to get more involved. Our task now is to keep those foot soldiers engaged at the local level.

Medina says that excitement is translating into volunteerism and for community work that is part of Obamas background. He has a torch that can lead to all kinds of opportunities for anyone wanting to continue the hope.

Theres a saying Go Bigor Go Home! The president has laid the blue print, said Bailey weve got to do our part.

Sign up to volunteer online at Obama Riverside.com

Related Articles:

Obama Allows Asylum for Battered Women

What the NAACP Means to Me

Obama Taps Black Trailblazer For Surgeon General Post

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