On the Eve of Change

What were you doing the day before that election?

That’s going to be the question people are asking one another years from now about tomorrow’s important election.

Will you say you worked hard? Did all you could? Did nothing?

What “Black Leaders” Said

This morning, Sen. Obama held an African American Leadership Conference Call featuring Donna Brazile, Rev. Joseph Lowery, Oprah, Diddy, and others. What those people had to say was really nothing remarkable. Brazile did give another number to use if you have trouble at the polls: 877-US-4-OBAMA. Use it.

What Senator Obama Said

Senator Obama spent much more time speaking with all of us than I expected him to. During his 5 or 6 minute remarks (I expected maybe 2 minutes), he sounded exceptionally calm, thoughtful, and reflective. Wouldn’t it be great to have leadership like that?

He talked about the importance of the journey that he has traveled with his supporters. He talked about the historical importance of his campaign and potential election for Black adults and children alike. He talked about why the “fierce urgency of now” must energize everyone to work through tomorrow to ensure that people are heard and able to vote. He did not give us a stump speech. He did not repeat his closing arguments. Instead, he gave a personal set of remarks that really gave insight onto who he is as a person. And all of this was after he already found out about the passing of his grandmother. Wow.

What were you doing?

I was working. Phone banking. Canvassing. Door-knocking. Posting updates on Facebook. Posting Bulletins on MySpace. Text Messaging. Blogging.

I’m not saying that to brag. I’m saying that to show that we all have things that we can do. It’s not enough to vote. We deserve the leadership we work for. 

Barack Obama understood that and empowered everyday people to do more this season than any campaign ever has. Let’s use this collective power to work for better leadership this Election Day, and every day after.

One Love. One II.

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About Garlin Gilchrist II

I am the City of Detroit's first ever Deputy Technology Director for Civic Community Engagement. My job is to open up the city's public data and information for the consumption and benefit of all Detroiters. I currently live in Detroit, my hometown, with my beautiful wife Ellen and our twins Garlin III and Emily Grace. I'm from Detroit. I created Detroit Diaspora, and was formerly the National Campaign Director at MoveOn.org. I also co-hosted The #WinReport on "The Good Fight," a an award winning, nationally syndicated radio show that was one of Apple's Best of 2013. After graduating with degrees in Computer Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Michigan, I became a Software Engineer at Microsoft. By day, I helped build SharePoint into the fastest growth product in the company's history. On my personal time, I sought out opportunities to connect my technical skills with community building efforts across the country. This led to my co-founding The SuperSpade: Black Thought at the Highest Level, a leading Black political blog. I served as Social Media Manager for the 2008 Obama campaign in Washington, and then became Director of New Media at the Center for Community Change. I spent two years creating and implementing a strategy for the Center to take it's 40 years of community organizing experience into the digital age. I speak before diverse audiences on effective & responsive government, empowerment in revolutionary new organizing spaces, increasing civic engagement & participation through emerging technologies and protecting civil rights in the age of the Internet. Full bio here.

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