When I enthusiastically became a part of the Obama campaign in 2007 and 2008, I did so because I saw in Obama a leader who could finally lead us in a much need conversation of race and somehow start the healing process of historical wounds that have been a part of our nation. This is why I traveled to over 14 states as a volunteer, why I started Omegas for Obama and was an integral organizer with Ethiopians for Obama. Obama was a chance, I thought, for us to finally have a national “truth and reconciliation” conversation about race and stop treating race like a taboo and a virus to avoid.
Instead, we have withdrawn further into our corners as anger and animus is turning us into a nation of grievance and animus. Though much has changed in terms of my feelings towards Obama, I nonetheless picked up many ideas from the campaign with respect to organizing various communities. As I traveled state to state in 2008, I did so with a notebook in hand as I took copious notes on the science behind the Obama field offices and the way they planted seeds within diverse communities to inspire the masses to vote and engender excitement within diverse constituencies and populations.
One of the most effective tools that the Obama campaign deployed was the “primary watching parties” where people were encouraged to host events at their homes and invite their neighbors to watch the primaries and various videos that were made available to the public on Obama’s website. Thus, I’m turning to the same tactic to bring about change in my own small way. Though I, by no means, have the reach or resources of Obama, I can match audacity with him on this front.
Here is my audacious hope, below is a video I put together about race and identity in America. I am asking you, the reader, to watch it with an open heart and then organize video watching events at your home or places like coffee shops and meeting spots. Use the video as a tool to start a conversation; even if you don’t agree with the content of the video below, use this occasion as a means of having dialogues among your friends and neighbor. Obama once said “change arrives by block by city block”. Our mistake was depending on change to arrive from the top. The change will come from us, the people, for it shall not come from the elites who profess to be about change but they make their fortunes through the status quo.
So let us be the change. Use the video below to start the much needed conversation. Use social media not to spread the propaganda of the Corporate State Media but to actually affect the change you want. Use this article to invite others to join in the conversation and to create a buzz on social media then use the YouTube video below (you can find the YouTube clip by clicking HERE) to organize video watching events. The video is safe and educational for children but is provocative enough for adults. Have the audacity to believe that we can make a difference and let us start this conversation where we live.
As you organize the events over the coming weeks and months, send emails of the event invite and pictures from the event to email@example.com and I will make sure to highlight those who wish to spread the news and who want to embrace this movement. The video is embedded below, do not let the title offend you, five minutes into the video you will realize that the message is one of love and inclusion and not a video meant to illicit emotions and be divisive. Let us have the courage to start the dialogue and to challenge the constructs which were imposed upon us in order to keep us divided. Block by city block, one person to the next, let us fire up this conversation and see if we can arrive at the change we all have been looking for. Can we make a difference and bend history towards justice? Yes. We. Can!
Here is audacity, if you agree with this video and the message behind it, share this article and the YouTube link as well on social media using #WeAreNotBlack
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.