It’s Famous Friday!

 

Barack Obama

Barack Obama is one of the most inspiring biracial individuals in American history.  He is known worldwide, for being the 44th President of the United States and is often referred to as, “the first black president.”  While this is partially true, a more accurate descriptor of his racial identity would be to say that he is, “the first Biracial, Black and White president,” of the United States. He was born in Honolulu, Hawaii on August 4th, 1961, to a black father from Kenya, named Barack Obama Sr. and a white mother from Kansas, named Ann Dunham. He just celebrated his 57th birthday.

Since the end of his presidency, Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, continue to live in the Washington, D.C. area about two miles from the White House.  They enjoy their “quiet lifestyle,” that is more out of the public eye. He is catching up on rest through vacationing and spending time playing one of his favorite sports, golf.  He has made a deliberate attempt to not interfere or be vocal about the politics of the new administration, knowing that his words still carry enormous weight.

Their older daughter Malia moved out to attend Harvard university in August of 2017, but their younger daughter remains at home.  Since Sasha Obama is graduating from high school in 2019, they thought it would be best not to disrupt her education by moving to another state.

There are two main professional agendas that Obama has focused on since leaving the White House.  In the past year and a half, he has worked diligently to establish the Obama Foundation.  With headquarters in Chicago, their mission is “to equip civic innovators, young leaders, and everyday citizens with the skills and tools they need to create change in their communities.” Barack Obama has a passion for raising up young leaders and aims to be the inspiration to a younger generation of people, like Dr. Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were to him.

Secondly, he has spent his time entering the entertainment world, establishing a new production company called Higher Grounds Productions.  “One of the simple joys of our time in public service was getting to meet so many fascinating people from all walks of life, and to help them share their experiences with a wider audience,” said former president Obama in a statement released by Netflix. “That’s why Michelle and I are so excited to partner with Netflix — we hope to cultivate and curate the talented, inspiring, creative voices who are able to promote greater empathy and understanding between peoples and help them share their stories with the entire world.”

We will keep our eyes on the Obamas as excitement still swirls around the idea of the Obama’s re-entering politics. This time with Michelle as a potential presidential candidate, and Barack as a biracial, first man.

 

Alexis Cook

Project RACE Teen Co-President

 

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Famous Friday!

FAMOUS FRIDAY: Svante Myrick  – “This Guy’s Gonna be President One Day!”

svante 2

A few months back, my Mom attended the Opportunity Nation conference in Washington, DC where leaders from many different sectors came together to work on the problem of youth unemployment. There were all kinds of important people there, including Senator Cory Booker and the mayors of Philadelphia and Birmingham. But when Mom returned home she was not talking about any of them. Instead, she was excited to tell me all about a guy I’d never heard of before. His name is Svante Myrick and if you believe my mom and a lot of other people, he’s going to be President one day.

 

Like me, Myrick’s mother is white and his father is black; he grew up with three siblings and he loved to read as a child. Even though he had some tough times in his childhood, he did well enough in school to go to Cornell University, an Ivy League school. He began his public-service career though volunteering when he was a student. Myrick was elected to Ithaca New York’s Common Council when he was just a 20 year old college junior.  He served on the council for four years before running for mayor. When Svante defeated three other candidates to become mayor of Ithaca in 2011, he became the city’s youngest mayor. He is still one of the youngest mayors in the U.S.

 

Svante has done a lot of important work as a politician, like creating tobacco free zones and the Ithaca Youth Council. When he became Mayor, the city had a budget deficit of more than $3 million but in just two years he had closed the budget deficit and brought about the lowest tax increase in years. A lot of people compare him to President Obama.

 

Svante obviously knows that young people like us can really make a difference. “When somebody questions your age, it’s not that they’re wondering if you’ve had enough birthdays to do the job,” he said.  “They’re wondering if you’re dedicated enough, they wonder if you know enough [ ].  They wonder if you have the experience it takes to get things done and if you show them those things, then the age is just a number.”

When Myrick graduated from high school, he wrote a note to his favorite teacher. “P.S. In 2040, when I’m president, I’ll keep you in mind for secretary of education,” the note read.

There are many people who would like to see him be president much sooner than that, but he won’t be old enough to be eligible to run for several more years. Myrick has said that another multiracial politician, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, is his role model.  Well, Svante Myrick is definitely one of mine!

by Karson Baldwin, President, Project RACE Kids

— Never too young to serve!