Barack Obama (@barackobama) — Dad, husband, President, citizen.
Over the past few days, the first class of @obamafoundation Fellows gathered to get to know each other and share what they’ve learned from their inspiring work. From Minnesota to Mali, these 20 leaders have dedicated their lives to building a better world. I can’t wait to learn from each of them and watch their impact grow as they work together and with us over the next two years.
Today, @KehindeWiley and @ASherald became the first black artists to create official presidential portraits for the Smithsonian. To call this experience humbling would be an understatement. Thanks to Kehinde and Amy, generations of Americans — and young people from all around the world — will visit the National Portrait Gallery and see this country through a new lens. They’ll walk out of that museum with a better sense of the America we all love. Clear-eyed. Big-hearted. Inclusive and optimistic. And I hope they’ll walk out more empowered to go and change their worlds.
Name: Tanisha Cidel Organizations: Evolutionary Arts and Entertainment, Norland Middle School and AileyCamp Miami What inspires me: Motivating our youth and those young at heart to achieve their personal success. I use innovative ways to teach the performing arts while sneaking in life lessons, building confidence, being compassionate, and listening to my students. At the #ObamaSummit I am hoping to share: My enthusiasm and passion for arts in education, and how imperative it is to utilize the arts as a vehicle to create social change.
Name: Genevieve Whitaker Organization: Virgin Islands Youth Advocacy Coalition, Inc. What inspires me: I am inspired and rather humbled by my God-given calling to serve as an agent for systemic change within my society and, by extension, the world. At the #ObamaSummit I'm hoping to share: The experiences that have shaped my human rights activism and my vision for change.
Name: Darius Ballinger Organization: Chasing23 Youth Empowerment Group What inspires me: I used to be a high school dropout and an inmate. I thought my very being didn’t matter—but all that has changed. I know now that who I am—as a husband, a father, and a mentor—matters. At the #ObamaSummit I'm hoping to share: The idea that every single person, regardless of who they are or where they come from, matters.
We’ve invited civic leaders from all over the world to Chicago for a hands-on exchange of ideas—and I’m turning my Instagram account over to some of them. Meet some of the amazing young people who have come up with creative ways to make an impact in their communities, and follow @obamafoundation for more on the #ObamaSummit.
Last night, the ex-Presidents got together in Texas to support all our fellow Americans rebuilding from this year’s hurricanes. We’ve seen a lot of hardship and heartbreak in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. But in the darkness, we’ve seen shining examples of what’s best about America. Neighbors pitching in to help their neighbors, veterans dropping in to help people they’ve never met, Americans taking care of one another, looking out for one another, without regard for what we look like, where we come from, or how we pray. If you want to know who we are, what America is, how we step up when required – that’s it. Selflessly. Compassionately. Without fear. And for as long as it takes. Find out how you can help at OneAmericaAppeal.org. Photo by @PeteSouza
When I left office, I told you all that the single most important thing I could do would be to help prepare the next generation of leaders to take their own crack at changing the world. The @ObamaFoundation Fellows program is looking to do just that -- train and support civic innovators who are solving problems in their communities in creative and powerful ways. Apply to join our inaugural class of twenty Fellows by Friday, October 6th: www.Obama.org/Fellowship