By Patricia Wilson-Smith
There is nothing more gratifying than to come together with people of like minds for a common cause.
This weekend in Atlanta, a large number of Barack Obama supporters have gathered to participate in “Camp Obama”, a training initiative created by the Obama campaign to introduce his many grass-root supporters all over the country to the tenets of his campaign, and to train them on canvassing, manning phone banks, and other community organizing methods. Camps like the one going on this weekend in the ATL have already taken place in cities all over the country, including Phoenix, AZ, Boise, ID and St. Louis, MO.
When I first heard about Camp Obama coming to Atlanta, I signed up immediately. As a staunch Obama supporter and founder of BWFO, I felt it was my duty to get all of the information available on how to be most effective for the Senator’s campaign. I made application online like everyone else, and received a call from the Southeast Field Coordinator several days later. I was put through a less-than-arduous interview, and then eventually informed that I had been accepted into the camp (I have no idea how many people were denied acceptance, but I’m having fun pretending that the number was in the thousands!).
When I signed up for the group mailing list to officially accept my spot in the Camp, I didn’t know that I would soon be inundated with enthusiastic emails from people from around the country who were just as excited as I was about the prospect of learning more about the inner-workings of the Obama Campaign. I mean, these people were fired up, and clearly ready to roll up their sleeves and get down to the business of getting the Senator elected, and from the sound of their emails, they are more than passionate and driven enough to do just that!
People like Freeman McNeal (not the football player), a Political Consultant who came in all the way from Cincinnati for Camp Obama. Or Cherry Vincent, who made the trip down from Norfolk, Virginia. Not to mention the legions of people from the local Atlanta area, many of whom have generously offered their time and assistance to the out-of-towners to make their trip to Camp Obama an easier one – the spirit of comraderie is flowing like, well, things that flow, and it’s infectious and really amazing!
Yep – there’s hope in the air people, and it makes you do crazy things. Not wanting to be out done, I contacted the National Campaign and offered sleeping space in my home for anyone that needs it, and as of this writing, I have two wonderful total strangers bunking with me (both of whom are last-named King - eery coincidence, or cosmic karma? I’ll let you decide). Despite what the media, the polls, or even your unenlightened next door neighbor might tell you, there is a powerful movement a-foot and there is more than enough reason for hope, as David Plouffe, Senator Obama’s brilliant campaign manager pointed out in an email on Friday that went out to Obama supporters:
“In mid-September 2003, a national poll put the eventual nominee John Kerry behind Howard Dean — and both of them behind the frontrunner in the polls, Joe Lieberman. Then Kerry won the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary, and that momentum carried him all the way to the nomination. The lesson: early polls don’t mean a thing and momentum in crucial early-state contests will win the Democratic nomination.”
Senator Obama’s campaign so far has been a study in what is possible when ordinary citizens band together. It is so very important that those of us who understand the importance of this election and the impact that an Obama presidency could have, continue to brush past the polls, the negativity, and the media speculators, and do all that we can to make it a reality. It would be SO easy to tell ourselves that the nay-sayers are right, that Senator Obama’s candidacy is a long-shot – the problem is, WE know what so many other people will soon know – that not only are Senator Obama’s plans for undoing the mess that the last few administrations have made sound and sensible, but they’re also good for all Americans, and good for the world. Senator Obama will invigorate the electorate, bring fresh ideas to old problems, and invoke a renewed spirit of cooperation in a way that recent administrations have failed to do.
And so, all of the hopeful, buoyant men and women who previously were just emails and voices over the telephone, have descended on Morris Brown College this weekend to report for duty. It will be our jobs as residents of the Southeast to get the training we need to make an impact in the state where we’re needed most right now – South Carolina. Black women for Obama has already established a chapter in South Carolina, and we’re committed to making an impact across the nation as the Obama army marches on through the first round of primaries. If you, or someone you know is in one of the states on our Chapters list that does not yet have a director, and you want to be part of a dynamic movement to inform, enlighten and empower, holla at us!
With scant few months until the important first primaries, we are definitely, smack dab in the middle of “The Countdown to Change”. To quote a beloved musical legend, I’m ready to make it “do what it do” – are you?