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On behalf of my family and myself, I'd like to take a moment to wish you and your family a merry Christmas and a joyous holiday season. At this special time of the year, we're reminded that the things that unite us as a people are more powerful and enduring than anything that pulls us apart - that we all have a stake in each other, and in something larger than ourselves. I hope the holiday spirit shines brightly in all Americans, and all people, and leads us into a new year of growing peace, prosperity, and mutual understanding. From our family to yours, we wish you happy holidays, and a wonderful New Year. All the best, Barack Obama
The African American members of the Illinois General Assembly today unanimously endorsed Barack Obama for President. The African American members of the Chicago City Council unanimously endorsed Obama this fall.
"Barack Obama has spent 20 years delivering change we can believe in to communities across Illinois," said Senate President Emil Jones. "Barack Obama started his career in public service on the South Side of Chicago, organizing folks who had little hope to strengthen their families and their communities. In Springfield, he fought to outlaw racial profiling, to prevent innocent people from being sent to Death Row, and to provide health care coverage to an additional 150,000 Illinois residents. In Washington, he secured increased investments for predominately black institutions to make higher learning more affordable for our children and to protect homeowners from risky loans and foreclosures. Every time we needed his help, Barack Obama stood up for us, and we need to stand up for him by voting on February 5th to elect Barack our next President."
"Our next President shouldn't be judged by the number of years they have spent in Washington, they should be judged by whether or not they have delivered change for our communities," added Representative David Miller. "We need to elect Barack Obama to take on the great challenges facing our communities - we know from his time in Chicago, Springfield, and Washington that he's able to unite folks from all walks of life to get things done. He stands up to special interests and defends our families no matter what the pundits say. Starting today, we've got to educate our friends and neighbors about Barack Obama, and then on February 5th we will turn out the vote for Barack in force." Continue below the fold for a full list of the endorsers.
Endorsing Barack Obama today are: I
llinois State Senate:
State Senate President Emil Jones
Senator Jackie Collins
Senator Ricky Hendon
Senator Mattie Hunter
Senator Kimberly Lightford
Senator James Meeks
Senator Kwame Raoul
Senator Donne Trotter
Illinois State Representatives:
Rep. Annazette Collins
Rep. Marlow Colvin
Rep. Monique Davis
Rep. William Davis
Rep. Kenneth Duncan
Rep. Mary Flowers
Rep. LaShawn Ford
Rep. Esther Golar
Rep. Deborah Graham
Rep. Constance Howard
Rep. Elga Jefferies
Rep. Charles Jefferson
Rep. David Miller
Rep. Milton Patterson
Rep. Al Riley
Rep. Arthur Turner
Rep. Eddie Washington
Rep. Karen Yarbrough
Rep. Wyvetter Younge
US Congresswoman Barbara Lee represents the 9th Congressional District of California. This is crossposted on Huffington Post.
I wanted to share some exciting news with you, as yesterday I announced my endorsement of Senator Barack Obama for President of the United States.
Like so many Americans, I first heard Senator Obama when he delivered his electrifying speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. Deep down, I knew I'd witnessed history in the making.
Barack Obama represents a bridge to the future. He embodies the hope and new direction that our country so desperately needs. As I've watched Senator Obama campaign for the presidency, I am convinced that he is a real agent of change; a man who can lead our nation in a new and positive direction.
This century cries for social, environmental, diplomatic, global, and neighborhood solutions to the misery that confronts far too many people in our own country and around the globe. I share Senator Obama's vision and active commitment to building a society based on activism, progressive values and a keen sense that we must act now and outside of the usual bounds of partisanship and expediency.
Rep. Lee visiting Obama campaign office in Oakland
I know that a President Obama would find a prompt and effective way to end the occupation of Iraq and that he would strengthen U.S. diplomacy and international development as an instrument of national policy to prevent crises that lead to war and conflagration.
I know that a President Obama would place education, health care, poverty, economic security, criminal justice reform, climate change and all of the important domestic issues at the top of his agenda.
And, I know that a President Obama would make the eradication of HIV/AIDS at home and abroad a top priority.
I founded One Voice PAC as an organization dedicated to helping elect truly progressive candidates who will challenge the status quo. To that end, I am honored to endorse Senator Obama's candidacy and I hope you will join me in helping him secure the Democratic nomination for the presidency.
In an op-ed in the Los Angeles Sentinel, Barack Obama writes about the need to address disparities in our criminal justice system. In the wake of the release of Genarlow Wilson -- a twenty-one year old Georgia honor student who was sentenced to eleven years in prison, despite the fact that he did not commit a felony -- Obama says "we must also to rededicate ourselves to the task of correcting the inequities in our criminal justice system that led to his ordeal."
Like Hurricane Katrina did with poverty, the case of Genarlow Wilson much like that of the Jena 6 exposed the glaring inequities in our justice system. They reminded us of the fact that we still have a system that locks away too many young, first-time, non-violent offenders for the better part of their lives. It reminds us that we have certain sentences that are based less on the kind of crime you commit than on what you look like and where you come from.
In America, nearly a third of African-American men will enter state or federal prison during their lives. Too many will be lost in the criminal justice system and end up in prison, poverty, and unemployment. In many cases, they will fail to become fully rehabilitated, and go on to commit more crimes.
Discussing his plan to "break this cycle," Obama continues:
We must create a pathway for people coming out of jail to get the jobs, skills, and education they need to leave a life of crime. That means supporting effective training and mentoring programs to help people transition into jobs. That means reevaluating the laws against hiring people with a criminal record so that we don't foreclose legal and effective ways out of poverty and crime. That also means giving former prisoners parenting skills so they can give their children the sense of hope and opportunity that so many of them were denied.
For more on Barack's dedication to civil rights and criminal justice reform, check out the speech he gave this fall at Howard University.
Barack unveiled a bold, new education plan yesterday, and you can click here to read the full speech, or watch the video below:
Featured in today's news:
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama laid out a plan Tuesday to spend $18 billion on early childhood education, dropout prevention and teacher incentives. His plan also touches on a hot-button pay issue on which he differs with education unions. He would end standardized tests in favor of more complicated assessments, fund early childhood programs, give teachers bonuses for working in high-needs schools, and fund schools that experiment with longer school days or school years. "We've got to have a fuller and ultimately more accurate way of assessing what's going on in the classroom. The main goal of testing should not be to reward or punish," Obama said in an interview Tuesday.
..."Where our teachers go above and beyond the call to make a real difference in our children's lives, I think it's time we rewarded them for it," Mr. Obama said... Mr. Obama delivered his speech energetically...Attendees at the invitation-only event praised the spirit and level of detail in Mr. Obama's remarks. "I wanted to run up and hug him," said a former teacher from Hopkinton, N.H., Cynthea Warman. Deb Barry of Stratham, N.H., said that Mr. Obama's speech reflected weeks of back-and-forth between the Obama campaign and "Educators for Obama." She said that local educators participated in a conference call with the campaign's education policy advisers several weeks ago at which officials asked the supporters about their concerns. But for some, such as Gabrielle Grossman of Exeter, who hooted the candidate had changed her life as he exited, Mr. Obama's appeal transcended the specifics of his speech. She said the candidate's announcement of his presidential campaign coincided with her toddler son's diagnosis with autism. "Every time he sees me he asks about my son," she said. "Every time I see him I find hope."
Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill...threaded the needle on the contentious issue of merit pay: his proposal to reward teachers based on student performance, which he unveiled Tuesday in New Hampshire, was praised by education reform advocates while being...welcomed by the head of an influential teachers' union. "Where they do succeed," Obama said of teachers, "I think it's time we rewarded them for it." Obama's willingness to boost teacher pay based on performance separates him from his Democratic rivals... "I believe it is a bold move on his part," said Marc Lampkin, the executive director of Strong American Schools, a non-partisan education group funded by the foundations of Bill Gates and Eli Broad. "It is a differentiator. It is the kind of bold initiative that we need to sustain broad education reform."
This morning in Manchester, New Hampshire, Barack Obama delivered a major policy address, unveiling his comprehensive plan to provide a world-class education for all Americans.
At a time when our schools have been shortchanged by the underfunding of "No Child Left Behind," Obama called for a new era of mutual responsibility in education where parents, teachers, leaders in Washington, and citizens all across the country come together for the sake of our children's success. Obama's plan will provide every American child the chance to receive the best education our country has to offer from the moment they are born to the day they graduate college. In addition to demanding excellence in education, the plan calls for providing the pay and resources that America's educators deserve.
Obama, who has fought for improving education his entire public life - first as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago and then through his work as a state Senator and U.S. Senator - discussed how, as President, he will make a real commitment to education and break free from the same debates that have preoccupied Washington for decades.
Senator Obama was introduced at the event by Jane LaCasse, a former New Hampshire Teacher of the Year with more than three decades of education experience that currently supervises student teachers for the undergraduate program at Plymouth State University.
Barack Obama's comprehensive plan to provide a world-class education for all Americans will:
* Reform No Child Left Behind.
* Ensure access to high-quality early childhood education programs and child care opportunities so children enter kindergarten ready to learn.
* Work to place effective teachers in every classroom in America, especially those in high-poverty, high-minority areas.
* Reward effective teachers for taking on challenging assignments and helping children succeed.
* Support highly-effective principals and school leaders.
* Make science and math education a national priority.
* Reduce the high school dropout rate by focusing on proven methods to improve student achievement and enhance graduation and higher education opportunities.
* Close the achievement gap and invest in what works.
* Empower parents to raise healthy and successful children by taking a greater role in their child's education at home and at school.
For full details on the plan click here.
Experts are raving about Obama's education policy.
Christopher Edley Jr., Dean, University of California - Berkeley, School of Law (Boalt Hall):
Cycle after cycle, many of us have been wishing for a Democratic presidential candidate to offer thoughtful, passionate leadership on education issues. Someone who would put our children's dreams and potential first. Someone who would recognize that, second only to families, teachers matter most. Obama has delivered all this and more.
James J. Heckman, Nobel Laureate in Economics and Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor of Economics, University of Chicago:
The Obama proposals for education are solidly grounded in the powerful evidence that the early years are critical for child development and that high quality child care can relieve the burdens on working families, foster skills for the next generation of Americans, promote productivity for society at large and reduce a fundamental source on inequality in American society.
Jason Kamras, 2005 National Teacher of the Year:
Senator Obama has presented a smart, progressive and ambitious agenda to provide every child in America with a truly excellent education. Imbued throughout his plan is a deep commitment to equity - to ensuring that every child in this nation, regardless of background, has access to first-rate educational opportunities. And no part of a child's life is left unaddressed. From birth through college, Obama proposes fresh ideas to improve educational access and quality. Education is, in my estimation, the civil rights and national security issue of our time and Obama has demonstrated through this plan that he has the bold and visionary leadership that our public schools - and our children - deserve.