My Digital Citizenship Valentine: 4 Reasons to Love #WHSocial Events

My Digital Valentine
My Digital Valentine

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Today, I am using my blog to send a Digital Citizenship Valentine to the White House (WH), WH Office of Digital Strategy staff and interns, and my fellow social media leaders who participated in the #WHSocial French Arrival Ceremony for President Francois Hollande on February 11.

Photo Credit: WhiteHouse.gov
Photo Credit: WhiteHouse.gov

The Office of Digital Strategy uses digital media to promote President Barack Obama’s agenda and policies. Through its efforts, the American people have been given an opportunity to do three things:

  • To see what’s happening at the WH on a daily basis via WhiteHouse.gov and WH social media channels.
  • To engage President Obama, WH officials, and other policy makers in conversation about the future of our great nation through WhiteHouse.gov Live events, Town Halls, Facebook and Twitter chats, and Google Hangouts.
  • To express their digital citizenship by making comments and asking questions on WH social media channels, sharing and discussing what they learn with their digital network, and creating their own WH-related content to engage their network.

Four years ago, the Office of Digital Strategy began inviting Americans who serve as social media influencers and leaders in their online networks to participate in face-to-face Tweet Ups and #WHSocial events that support the State of the Union, Town Halls, and other WH events. The social media influencers and leaders have been able to expand the WH’s public outreach efforts. Their efforts reach many more Americans who get their news from social media. They have also worked to breakdown the barriers between the U.S. government and its citizens. Together with the Office of Digital Strategy, they are helping to make the Obama administration the most accessible and transparent administration in U.S. history.

Photo Credit: WhiteHouse.gov
Photo Credit: WhiteHouse.gov

In January, I was invited as 1 of 60 social media leaders (out of a pool of over 6,000 applicants) to participate in the State of the Union Social. Click here to read about my experience.

Photo Credit: WhiteHouse.gov
Photo Credit: WhiteHouse.gov
Photo Credit: WhiteHouse.gov
Photo Credit: WhiteHouse.gov

A few days after the event, I learned about and applied to participate in the #WHSocial French Arrival Ceremony. To my surprise, I was selected to attend the event as 1 of 100 social media leaders (out of a pool of 2,500 applicants). Today, I took time to reflect on my experiences and came up with 4 Reasons to Love #WHSocial Events.

#WHSocial Meet Up I hosted at the Old Ebbitt Grill on 2/10/14
#WHSocial Meet Up I hosted at the Old Ebbitt Grill on 2/10/14

1) I love #WHSocial events because they gave me a chance to meet, network, and build community with a diverse group of Americans from all over the country. That’s exactly what I did on Monday night when I organized and hosted a meet up for my fellow social media leaders at the Old Ebbitt Grill.

Me and my new #WHSocial BFFs on the White House South Lawn --Photo Credit: Dave McCulloch
Me and my new #WHSocial BFFs on the White House South Lawn –Photo Credit: Dave McCulloch

The next day, I reconnected with my #WHSocial BFFs and made new ones on the South Lawn of the White House, during the briefing with WH staff, and at an impromptu lunch at Cosi’s.

Photo Credit: yours truly -- Social media leaders at #WHSocial briefing with White House staff at EEOB on 2/11/14
Photo Credit: yours truly — Social media leaders at #WHSocial briefing with White House staff at EEOB on 2/11/14
Photo Credit: Yours truly - Impromptu lunch with #WHSocial BFFs
Photo Credit: Yours truly – Impromptu lunch with #WHSocial BFFs

2) I love #WHSocial events because they energized and convinced me to step up my digital citizenship game. Next week, I will begin using my Internet Geek Tuesday blog series to discuss digital citizenship, launch and celebrate Digital Citizenship Month (yep I am creating it) in July to encourage Americans to use their digital presence to get involved and civically engaged at the local and national level, profile #WHSocial leaders and influencers, and discuss WhiteHouse.gov information and WH online engagement efforts.

My Pinterest board of #WHSocial resources
My Pinterest board of #WHSocial resources

3) I love #WHSocial events because they inspired me to use all of my social media platforms to get the word out about President Obama’s activities, policies, and programs. I used Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Storify, Tumblr, Twitter, Vine video app, VoiceBo podcast app, and WordPress to share my #WHSocial adventures this week.

Check out my #WHSocial Pinterest board which contains over 50 pins filled with articles, blog posts, videos, and photos that discuss the French President’s State visit.

I really enjoyed creating Vine videos featuring my fellow social media leaders in action as they prepared for the #WHSocial briefing at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

Interviewing my fellow social media leaders with the VoiceBo app was a lot of fun. I also enjoyed using it to give updates about my #WHSocial preparation and reflections.

Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter were probably my most favorite social media tools to use while live tweeting during the #WHSocial events.

Photo Credit: Me and Kori Schulman at #WHSocial briefing at EEOB on 2/11/14
Photo Credit: Me and Kori Schulman at #WHSocial briefing at EEOB on 2/11/14

4) I love #WHSocial events because they gave me an opportunity to meet and talk with WH staff. During the #WHSocial briefing, I asked Kori Schulman, Director of Online Engagement, how the Office of Digital Strategy was leveraging the support of people who have participated in the #WHSocial events. I suggested creating a #WHSocial Ambassador Program. Yesterday, I received an email indicating that a #WHSocial Alumni Program is in the works! And that’s just one more reason to love #WHSocial events!

Next week, I’ll be sharing more about my #WHSocial adventures. So drop by! Enjoy your Valentine’s Day and Presidents’ Day Weekend!

#BlogforObama: Why I am Voting for President Obama

Ananda before voting on Election Day 2012 in DC

Happy Election Day!

Today, I thought I would share my reasons for voting for President Obama as a part of my work with the #BlogforObama community of women bloggers. I’ll start with a story about my 2012 election inspiration: my parents, Theresa and John Leeke. They are actively engaged over 70, cyber-citizens who use their social media platforms to do exactly what Morra Aarons-Mele wrote about in her recent Huffington Post article, “Each One Reach One; Social Media GOTV:

“Turns out, we can use our social media networks to influence friends and followers to vote.”

President Barack Obama

Their Facebook posts are passionately written to inform their families, friends, and colleagues about President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign. They also share information about the many ways Governor Romney has mispresented himself and his campaign. They post daily and weekly.

Dr. John Leeke (middle with t-shirt) volunteering at PG County, MD Obama campaign office

My father took his social media support for President Obama to a higher level when he started using his Twitter account and Tumblr blog to advocate on behalf of the Obama 2012 campaign. He also upped his on-the-ground volunteering game by traveling to Virginia several times to knock on doors with his fellow Prince George’s County, Maryland residents.

Dr. John Leeke leading a bus chat for Obama 2012 campaign effort in Virginia

When I was getting discouraged in June, my parents told me to invest 200 percent in the Obama 2012 campaign. So I jumped in with weekly blog posts, Facebook status updates, and tweets. I also volunteered for the D.C. Obama team and with my father at several local phone canvasing events in P.G. County, Maryland. My monthly Yoga for Obama fundraiser classes in Malcolm X-Meridian Hill Park gave me a chance to share my love of yoga and the Obama campaign. Contributing financially to the campaign via BarackObama.com helped me own a piece of the Obama 2012 rock. Seeing President Obama’s live web cast at BlogHer this summer was energizing. Joining the #BlogforObama community of women bloggers and live tweeting during the debates in September and October allowed me to add my support to the voices of women online.

Me and digital sister Tracey Friley at BlogHer’s live web cast with President Obama
Dr. John Leeke volunteering at PG County, MD Obama campaign office
Me volunteering at PG County Obama Campaign Office
#BlogforObama Campaign
Me canvasing for Obama 2012 campaign on U Street in DC

Today, I got up early and had my own personal Yoga for Obama yoga session at home before heading out to Starbucks for a hot chocolate and a 10-minute walk to my voting center. As I walked to the center, I thought about the many reasons I support President Obama.

President Obama at Barnard College
Obama Women for Healthcare
Obama buttons

Here’s a short list of the some of my reasons.

1) My President knows women’s rights are ESSENTIAL and IMPORTANT.

2) My President has been working since he entered the White House in 2009 to make America better with programs and funding that support education, healthcare, jobs, and the list goes on and on.

3) My President is committed to building a stronger economy.

4) My President supports military families and has ended the war in Iraq.

5) My President makes all of his administration’s policies and activities available online.

6) My President CARES about all Americans.

7) My President knows America must invest in her youth, education programs, job training programs, technology, and the list goes on and on.

Voting sign from DC
People in DC getting ready to vote today
Me smiling after I voted for President Obama this morning

What are your reasons for voting for President Obama?

How will you celebrate his victory today?

What are you going to do to support him in his next administration beginning on November 7?

UPDATE: SO HAPPY POTUS Obama won the election and has a second term.

Ananda Joins Women Online’s Social Media Sprint Campaign – #BlogForObama

Photo Credit: BarackObama.com

Happy October!

A few days ago I was in Las Vegas attending the Blogalicious Weekend Conference. During one of my breaks, I checked my email and read a message from my digital sister, Chrysula Winegar, that invited me to participate in Women Online’s Social Media Sprint Campaign. When I visited the Women Online (WO) web site to research the campaign, I learned WO is a boutique digital public relations and marketing firm founded by Morra Aarons-Mele, an Internet marketing professional who established The Mission List and  served as the founding Political Director for BlogHer.com. After digesting this information, my response to Chrysula’s invitation was YES…YES… YES!!!!! So I joined the group of amazing women bloggers and top social media voices in a “social media sprint” to Election Day (#blogforobama).

Photo Credit: BarackObama.com

So why join? I think President Obama is the only Presidential candidate who represents my interests as a woman. Since June, I have actively participated in the Obama 2012 campaign by:

Photo Credit: Ananda canvasing in her U Street neighborhood in DC
Photo Credit: Ananda volunteering at Obama phone bank
Photo Credit: Ananda volunteering at Obama phone bank
President Obama speaking at BlogHer 12 Conference
Photo Credit: Leigh Mosley wwwleighmosley.com
Photo Credit: BarackObama.com

Today, I participated in WO’s first conference call and learned more about the role I will be playing in the Social Media Sprint Campaign. I also learned my digital sisters, Stacey Ferguson, BeBlogalicious.com co-founder and chief curator,  and Xina Eiland, President of The Eiland Group and BeBlogalicious.com publicist, are also participating in the campaign. What great company I am in!

From now and until November 7 (the day after the Presidential Election), you will see me online a little more. For example, I will tweet during the Presidential Debate on October 3. Later this week, I will share more information from the Social Media Sprint Campaign. So look out for my tweets and posts on Facebook, Google+, and Pinterest.

Enjoy your day and remember to register to vote, get your ID, help others register or obtain their IDs, vote early (if you can), and vote for President Obama!

Moving FORWARD with President Obama,

Ananda, a proud 2008 and 2012 Obama supporter

Ananda’s Obama 2012 Campaign Volunteer Update #1

Happy Summer!

It’s 100 degrees in Washington, D.C. today. It’s HOT like burning fire! Here’s the good news.  The weather matches how I feel inside. I am fired up about President Obama’s successful re-election campaign. I am totally in!!! Are you?

Photo Credit: WhiteHouse.gov

Here’s what happened to me this week. I had a chance to read President Obama’s commencement speech given on May 14 at Barnard College. The advice he gave to the graduates was exactly what I needed to read … inspiring and encouraging! See below.

“My first piece of advice is this: Don’t just get involved. Fight for your seat at the table. Better yet, fight for a seat at the head of the table… So don’t accept somebody else’s construction of the way things ought to be. It’s up to you to right wrongs. It’s up to you to point out injustice. It’s up to you to hold the system accountable and sometimes upend it entirely. It’s up to you to stand up and to be heard, to write and to lobby, to march, to organize, to vote. Don’t be content to just sit back and watch… Which brings me to my second piece of advice: Never underestimate the power of your example… My last piece of advice — this is simple, but perhaps most important: Persevere. Persevere. Nothing worthwhile is easy. No one of achievement has avoided failure — sometimes catastrophic failures. But they keep at it. They learn from mistakes. They don’t quit.”

Click here to read his entire speech. If you have 30 minutes, click here to watch a video of his speech on the White House YouTube Channel.

Photo Credit: Ananda Leeke’s HTC Smartphone (love my phone!)

President Obama’s advice reminded me of the reasons I decided to volunteer my time to actively support the his 2012 campaign. Last weekend I participated in voter outreach by engaging my neighbors in conversations about how to register to vote and support President Obama’s re-election campaign as I walked up and down the streets of my U Street neighborhood with a bright smile and an Obama/Biden button, sticker, and sign.

This weekend I am wearing that same smile with my pink Women for Obama t-shirt as I teach a kind and gentle yoga class in Malcolm X – Meridian Hill Park in Washington, D.C. on Sunday morning. If you are in the area, come out and join me. Click here for more details. At the end of the class, I will invite folks to show their gratitude by making a donation of their choice to the Obama 2012 campaign (online or by giving me a donation that I can submit online). If you are not able to attend the class, please visit BarackObama.com and make a donation.  Thanks in advance!

How are you supporting President Obama’s successful re-election campaign? Share your comments below.

Having a Nina Simone “Feeling Good” Day After President Barack Obama Signed Healthcare Legislation!

President Obama's signature on 2010 healthcare legislation - Photo Credit: Whitehouse.gov

Greetings All,

This morning I woke up with so much inspiration and energy.  Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good” was playing on my inner iPod!

I felt like I did when I woke up on November 5, 2009, the day after we elected President Barack H. Obama to serve as the leader of the United States of America. What a great feeling! America is making history once again by ensuring all Americans have access to good healthcare.  To learn more about what’s in the healthcare legislation, visit Whitehouse.gov’s blog:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/03/23/whats-health-care-bill.

Last night I watched the Whitehouse.gov video of my President signing the healthcare legislation.  What a historical moment! It was huge! Click here to watch the video and read my President’s remarks. See an excerpt of my favorite part of his remarks below.

“Our presence here today is remarkable and improbable.  With all the punditry, all of the lobbying, all of the game-playing that passes for governing in Washington, it’s been easy at times to doubt our ability to do such a big thing, such a complicated thing; to wonder if there are limits to what we, as a people, can still achieve.  It’s easy to succumb to the sense of cynicism about what’s possible in this country.

But today, we are affirming that essential truth -– a truth every generation is called to rediscover for itself –- that we are not a nation that scales back its aspirations.  (Applause.)  We are not a nation that falls prey to doubt or mistrust.  We don’t fall prey to fear.  We are not a nation that does what’s easy.  That’s not who we are.  That’s not how we got here.

We are a nation that faces its challenges and accepts its responsibilities.  We are a nation that does what is hard.  What is necessary.  What is right.  Here, in this country, we shape our own destiny.  That is what we do.  That is who we are.  That is what makes us the United States of America.

And we have now just enshrined, as soon as I sign this bill, the core principle that everybody should have some basic security when it comes to their health care.   And it is an extraordinary achievement that has happened because of all of you and all the advocates all across the country.”

I know  the healthcare legislation is not perfect. We still have a lot of work to do to ensure universal coverage for everyone and funding for women to have access to federally-funded abortions.  We still have to overcome challenges and kinks that come with new legislation. More change is sure to come. However, we are much better off than we were without healthcare reform. We have something to work with. We have a foundation to move forward. And I am fired up and ready to go! Are you?

What do you think about the healthcare reform legislation?

Enjoy your day and week!

Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Gratitude for Healthcare Reform and President Obama,

Ananda

PS: My new book That Which Awakens Me (available on Amazon.com) includes a chapter that discusses my reflections on President Obama’s campaign and election.  Here is an excerpt from the chapter.  Enjoy!

The Night Barack Was Elected

Copyright 2009 by Madelyn C. Leeke
Inspired by E. Ethelbert Miller’s City as Memory: Lyrical
City Writing Workshop held at Busboys and Poets on May
3, 2009.

Election night was unseasonably warm in D.C.
Rain sprinkled the pavement as I walked down U Street with
a group of friends.
We wanted to go to Busboys and Poets, but the line was too
long to get in.
So we walked up to 12th Street and parked ourselves around a
table at The Islander, a Caribbean restaurant.
It was filled with Obama supporters.
Everyone was excited.
You could feel the need for great change in the air.
Before the waitress took our group’s order, she gave us Barack
buttons her daughter made.
They were designed with a small picture of his face surrounded
by Caribbean flags.
It was one-of-a-kind election memorabilia.
After we placed our orders, we began monitoring the election
results posted on the television screen.
By the time our dinner entrees arrived, my stomach was filled
with tension.
It made it difficult to enjoy my plantains, spicy fish, cabbage,
and peas and rice.
Flashbacks from the 2000 Presidential election kept popping
up in my mind.
It was post-traumatic Bush stress order.
When dinner was over, I decided I couldn’t take watching the
results as they poured in each hour.
So I said my goodbyes and walked home.
I made a pit stop at Love Café and purchased a cupcake to
celebrate Barack’s win.
It was my way of positively affirming America had changed.
I also wanted to kick the post-traumatic Bush stress order out
of my brain.
During the first couple of hours I was home, I practiced yoga,
meditated, and watched “Young and the Restless” online.
After the show ended, I decided to check CNN.com for
election results.
That’s when I started to get excited.
Barack was leading the race.
Then it happened.
He won, but I didn’t trust the results.
So I called my mother to confirm the news.
When I heard her say that Barack was headed to Grant Park to
give his acceptance speech, I knew the news was true.
I screamed so loud, “Yes We Can,” into the phone.
My excitement continued to build as I ate my Love Café
election cupcake, watched CNN.com for news updates,
and listened to the crowd of people celebrate outside of my
apartment on U Street.
I knew I had to join the party.
So I got dressed and walked out into the biggest celebration I
had ever seen.
Folks of all ages and ethnicities were smiling, crying, singing,
and dancing together.
It was surreal.
We had become the United States of America and made new
history.


Friendly Reminder – Celebrate Yoga Day USA with Ananda by taking her 2 free online yoga classes on January 20 and 23.

Happy Wednesday!

Happy First Year Anniversary to President BarackObama and First Lady Michelle Obama!

Last year I was standing on the grounds of the Lincoln Memorial watching President Obama get sworn in.  That day was filled with so much hope and joy.  I shared it with my brother Mark and sisters Lu and Sylvia, and folks from all over America.  My prayer is that we work together as a country to make America what it can be under the leadership of President Obama.  We have got seven more years to make things happen.  I say seven because I am affirming President Obama’s re-election in 2012!

Today I am sharing information about two free online yoga classes I am teaching to celebrate Yoga Day USA (www.yogadayusa.org), an annual campaign created by the Yoga Alliance (www.yogaalliance.org) that strives to make yoga more accessible. My class schedule is below.

January 20, 8-8:30pm EST – kg yoga life practices (every 3rd Wednesday of each month) on MomTV – http://www.momtv.com/kgyogalife.html

January 23, 9-9:15am EST – http://stickam.com/anandaleeke

The classes will focus on the practice of karuna (Sanskrit word that means compassion).  They will also honor the people of Haiti and everyone affected by the January 12th earthquake.  If you like the classes and learn something that helps you, please consider adopting the Charter for Compassion (http://charterforcompassion.org) in your daily life and making a donation to Doctors Without Borders, an international humanitarian organization that is working to make the lives of Haitians better.  Visit www.doctorswithoutborders.org to learn more and make a donation.

Enjoy your week!

Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Healing OMs to the people of Haiti,

Ananda

Art Every Day Month – Day #4 – WOW 2009: Obamas in White House

WOW 2009: Obamas in White House , originally uploaded by anandaleeke.

Happy Wednesday!

Today I am celebrating the first anniversary of President Obama’s election with a collage that I made early this morning. It includes a statement at the bottom: pave a new road for us. This statement comes from indie music artist Eric Roberson’s Music Fan First CD. “Pave A New Road” is a song included on this amazing CD. Check out the video below.  Enjoy!

Make Art Every Day!

Peace and Creativity,

Ananda

Diversity Among African Americans: We are not monolithic!

 

 

annapolisbeach1

akml-beach%20life-may%2020051

Photos taken at Oyster Harbor Beach in Annapolis, MD

 

Happy Monday!

While my dad and I were getting some much needed “plage de temps” (French phrase that means beach time a/k/a chilling out, chill-axing, cooling out, R&R) on Sunday morning in Annapolis, he shared soundbytes from the Washington Post about Judge Sonia Sotomayor and his all-time favorite person, President Barack Obama.  He spent time talking about Eugene Robinson’s op-ed that discussed several comments President Obama made about his speech at the NAACP’s 100th anniversary. Click here to read Robinson’s op-ed:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/18/AR2009071801045.html.

Obama-NAACP-100th-Anniversary-Speech

Robinson’s op-ed also referenced President Obama’s statement about how the civil rights movement weakened itself by promoting a one size fits all definition of what it means to be Black: 

“One of the ways that I think that the civil rights movement . . . weakened itself was by enforcing a single way of being black — being authentically black. And, as a consequence, there were a whole bunch of young black people — and I fell prey to this for a time when I was a teenager — who thought that if you were really ‘down’ you had to be a certain way. And oftentimes that was anti-something. You defined yourself by being against things as opposed to what you were for. And I think now young people realize, you know what, being African American can mean a whole range of things. There’s a whole bunch of possibilities out there for how you want to live your life, what values you want to express, who you choose to interact with…  I do think it is important for the African American community, in its diversity, to stay true to one core aspect of the African American experience, which is we know what it’s like to be on the outside… If we ever lose that, then I think we’re in trouble. Then I think we’ve lost our way.”

TWAM-LovesTroubadours-Blackfolksmonolithic

Love’s Troubadours: Black Folks Ain’t Monolithic by Ananda Leeke (2005)

Message on painting: The truth is that Black folks ain’t monolithic.  No folks are. You dig! When Deno and I started writing the novel, we wanted to show the depth and breadth of Black folks loving themselves and each other in and out of life’s joys and pains … in and out of our identities…gender…class…religions…ages… We wanted to tell the truth.  The truth being that Black folks are Love’s Troubadours.”

 

I am so happy that President Obama talked about the diversity among African Americans and how being African American means many things.  His statement echoes a familiar chant that I have addressed in my novel, Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One (www.lovestroubadours.com), Love’s Troubadours Art Collection, and my new book, That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery (Summer 2009 – iUniverse, Inc.): African Americans are not monolithic.  See the photo of my painting, Love’s Troubadours: Black Folks Ain’t Monolithic above.  The lives of African Americans are filled with multi-layered stories.  We are much more than what we read about in mainstream media.  Our lives are richer and deeper than what we see on television and movie screens.  That’s why we must be vigilant in telling and documenting our stories. 

More on President Obama

Last night I had a chance to catch up on my reading. So I read an op-ed by Shayne Lee, one of my favorite authors. Click here to read Shayne’s op-ed: www.philly.com/inquirer/opinion/50451437.html?cmpid=15585797.  In his op-ed that was published in the Philadelphia Inquirer on July 10, Shayne discussed how former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka cleared President Obama’s path to becoming Senator and President.  How could that be?  The topic itself made me blink a few times.  To see why I blinked, read an excerpt from Shayne’s op-ed below.

“Let’s go back to 2004. National Democratic leaders strategize feverishly in an effort to win enough seats to control the U.S. Senate. They have their eyes on Illinois, a state with no incumbent running for reelection. Obama wins the Democratic nomination for the open seat, and the Republican nominee, Jack Ryan, drops out of the race due to the embarrassing details of his divorce records.

Obama is looking down a clear path to the Senate – until Mike Ditka begins flirting with the idea of running on the Republican ticket.

Some Democrats are champing at the bit for their Harvard-educated lawyer to pit wits against the charismatic but nonetheless inarticulate jock. But others fear that the former NFL coach, who brought Chicago its first and only Super Bowl championship, enjoys instant name recognition, while Obama is still establishing himself with Illinois residents. They find the prospect of a young politician with a weird name running against one of the state’s greatest sports legends somewhat daunting.

So, to raise Obama’s visibility, they grant him the great privilege of addressing the 2004 Democratic National Convention in prime time. Ironically, Ditka announces he will not enter the race shortly before the convention. But Obama’s name is already carved in stone on the schedule.

Almost 10 million Americans watch Obama deliver a riveting speech that changes his life and American politics. Before long, Obama is the new face of the party, criss-crossing the nation in fund-raising efforts for struggling candidates, building strategic alliances, and thereby taking steps toward a viable presidential candidacy.

I sum things up with a sort of syllogism: Obama’s presidential run is unimaginable without the political power and rock-star status bestowed upon him by his speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. His speech never happens without a sports legend threatening to run against him for the vacant Illinois Senate seat. Therefore, Barack Obama would not be president today without Mike Ditka.

There is a lesson to be learned from the president’s remarkable journey. Even an immensely gifted, highly competent, Ivy League-trained talent such as Obama needs a bit of luck to achieve great success in America. How much more of it do the rest of us need”?

Okay now what do you think? 

If you are like me, you might be saying, “this cat made me think.”  That’s why I am a huge fan of Shayne’s work.  His writing always pushes the envelope and causes me to consider a different perspective.  He uncovers facts and weaves them together with insightful commentary that sheds light on areas most folks miss.  I think Shayne moonlights as an “Easy Rawlins” detective when he leaves his gigs as an author, sociologist, and professor at Tulane University.  

For more information about Shayne, visit http://www.tulane.edu/~sociol/slee.pdf

Be sure to check out and buy Shayne’s books on Amazon.com: T.D. Jakes: America’s New Preacher (NYU Press, 2005) and Holy Mavericks: Evangelical Innovators and the Spiritual Marketplace (NYU Press 2009).  Support Shayne!  His work will enrich your life! 

To read my review of Shayne’s book, T.D. Jakes: America’s New Preacher, click here: http://kiamshacom.blogspot.com/2009/02/book-review-td-jakes-americas-new.html.  

Visit BAP Living Radio to listen to a recording of my February 23rd interview with Shayne (search for Episode 13):  http://www.talkshoe.com/tc/18598.

Enjoy your day and week!

Peace and Creativity,

Ananda