What does it mean to have hope? For me, hope is about everyday people who want to bring change to American public policy. I believe in the progressive message embodied by the Democratic Party and President Obama. Barack Obama inspires me because he works to create a better America for people like me. In 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama promised that these people would no longer be ignored and that all Americans would have access to affordable health care. Today, that promise is coming true.
As the recipient of a heart and kidney transplant, I am one of the many Americans whose fight for quality, affordable health insurance changed when PresidentObama signed the Affordable Care Act into law. That moment proved to me that we have to make sure the right leaders are elected to bring the change that we desire. In 2008, I volunteered on the Obama for America campaign to elect Barack Obama and give millions of Americans like me the peace of mind health care coverage brings. Today I am no longer a hopeful high school student and campaign volunteer; now I am a Hope Fellow with the Democratic National Committee. I was encouraged to apply by a friend and little did I know how much this experience would change my life.
The Hope Institute began as an initiative to engage and train the next generation of political leaders who come from underrepresented communities. I met with young leaders from across the country, and we were all inspired to begin careers in civic service through political activism. Collectively, we learned that politics is not about winning an election but making a commitment to improving and shaping a better world for future generations.
The Fellows heard from leaders including Chair of the DNC, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, DNC Vice Chair for Voter Protection and Registration Donna Brazile, and former Obama Deputy Campaign Manager, Stephanie Cutter. In addition, we received trainings on effective community organizing from Democratic strategists. The education we received was priceless, and we left with a determination to become future change makers and political officials. Each of us will take the skills learned from the Hope Institute to initiate social and political change in our own communities. Change starts with young people like me, and the Hope Institute gave me the platform to change the world.
Today we asked participants in the Hope Institute (a crash course in politics for 40 young adults from underrepresented communities) to share why they're a Democrat in 140 characters. Here's what they had to say:
I'm a democrat because I believe in my generation's power to impact and change this country for the better #hopeinstitute— Yassamin Ansari (@yassaminansari) June 13, 2013
#hopeinstitute I'm a Democrat because I want to fight for all Americans. Every life deserves a voice. The Democrats are that voice.— Steven Christopher (@domrepp) June 13, 2013
#hopeinstitute I'm a democrat because I believe in a smart, fair, andworkable immigration system— Garry Jones (@GarryBJones) June 13, 2013
I'm a Democrat because I believe in common sense immigration reform that will help improve the lives of 11 million Americans. #HopeInstitute— Pedro A. Villalobos (@pedro_villa) June 13, 2013
I'm a Democrat because I believe in equality for ALL. #HopeInstitute— Erin Murphy (@ErinMurphy1) June 13, 2013
I believe my generation can change the world, but we must have access to affordable education in order to do so! #HopeInstitute— Maria Carrasquillo (@MICarrasquillo) June 13, 2013
I believe in a fair economy and equal educational opportunities that enables all Americans to rise into the middle class. #HopeInstitute— Joshua Mbanusi (@JoshuaMbanusi) June 13, 2013
I am a Dem because as a gay soldier in Iraq, it was Dems that supported DADT repeal. We care about ALL people! #HopeInstitute— Eric Williams (@EricWilliams253) June 13, 2013
I can't believe it's finally here! For months, our team's been working around the clock reviewing resumes, arranging flights, coordinating logistics, and securing some of the best and brightest public servants, elected officials and political professionals to serve as mentors and guest speakers.
Tonight, we're officially kicking off the Hope Institute — a throw back to then-Senator Barack Obama's "Yes We Can" campaign school and the latest effort by Democrats to invest in the next generation of leaders.
I remember the "Yes We Can" program very well. Launched in 2005, this campaign school trained participants from underrepresented communities on how to break into politics. And it was a huge success.
When I came to the DNC as the new Finance Director, I thought it was important to do some of the things we did well back in the day. That's why we launched the Hope Institute — a crash course in politics for 40 young adults from underrepresented communities.
These next two days are going to be intense. We've put together a packed schedule with speakers, networking opportunities, and real life campaign scenarios. And we've got some surprises too.
I can't wait to meet everyone tonight and look forward to sharing stories from the events. As Democrats, we believe in change that matters. That's why we invest in young people who care.
If you'd like to invest in the next generation of Democratic leaders:
chip in now
P.S. Fun fact: I met my beautiful wife while we were working together on the "Yes We Can" campaign. And that's just one of the many great things to come out of it. Excited to get started!
What I care about is keeping my child healthy — and that's what Obamacare makes possible.
My daughter Zoe was born with a congenital heart defect that required her to have multiple open heart surgeries in the first few months of her life. By the time she was six months old, she had already reached over half of her lifetime health insurance cap, which would have left us unable to pay for the continuing care and future surgeries required for Zoe to survive.
I can't tell you how relieved I was when Obamacare passed. I got a letter from our insurance company telling us that Zoe's lifetime cap had been removed. It meant my family wouldn't have to lose everything to keep my daughter alive.
By re-electing Barack Obama, Americans sent the clear message that we want Obamacare.
But for some reason, Republicans continue to fight against the will of the American people. Maybe it's because they'll do anything to stop the President from succeeding or maybe they want to keep giving insurance companies record profits. Either way, I don't care. What I care about is keeping my child healthy — and that's what Obamacare makes possible.
My family, and hundreds of thousands of families like mine across the country, have been through so much. We deserve better than Republicans continuously fighting against a policy that's been voted on, upheld by the Supreme Court, and reaffirmed by the American people.
Join me and sign this petition telling Republicans to stop trying to repeal Obamacare.