As the primary season got underway earlier this year, we supported John Edwards for the Democratic presidential nomination. But as we watched the Iowa caucus returns on the evening of Jan. 3, we happened upon Barack Obama’s victory speech. As he spoke, a deep yearning was reawakened in each of us, a rekindling of a profound hope—for ourselves, our community and our nation—that things can be better. So we decided to learn more about this candidate. We downloaded Obama’s autobiography, Dreams from My Father, and gave up “The Daily Show” for a couple of weeks to listen each evening to the author candidly and eloquently share intimate details of his life—even aspects that many who aspire to political office would have left unsaid.
Through these activities and others, it became clear to us that Obama’s campaign for the presidency is about more than just the candidate: It’s also about us, the citizens of this nation. For in his books and in his speeches, he encourages us to become accountable, to become engaged and to work collectively to address the challenges that confront us today. So a few weeks ago, we rolled up our sleeves and got involved—volunteering for WNC for Change, the local grass-roots effort to elect Obama; calling voters in Wisconsin, Texas and Mississippi; and contributing money to his campaign.
As we attended the volunteer meetings and visited barackobama.com and wncforchange.com, we discovered that there are thousands of folks of various ages, ethnic groups, political persuasions and socioeconomic backgrounds supporting Obama in Western North Carolina. We have united to reclaim our power from the special interests in Washington and elect leaders like Obama who are dedicated to serving all of us. We invite you to join in as we work to make Barack Obama the winner in the North Carolina Democratic Primary on May 6 and move him one step closer to becoming president of the United States.
— Shonnie Lavender and Bruce Mulkey