Great News! This morning, I’m headed back to the White House to attend the French Welcoming Ceremony for French President Francois Hollande.
During the Ceremony, President and Mrs. Obama will welcome President Hollande on the South Lawn. I’ll be there covering the event with an amazing group of social media leaders. Follow me as @anandaleeke on Instagram and Twitter and use the #whsocial hashtag to track the conversation and see photos between 7:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. EST. The Ceremony begins at 9:00 a.m.
I’ll also be participating in the #WHSocial panel discussion with White House officials from 11:00 a.m. to 12 noon at the Old Executive Office Building. The discussion will be live streamed on WhiteHouse.gov.
January 29: The day after the event, I reached out to my fellow social media leaders on LinkedIn. As a result, I received an invitation to meet up with Jason Nellis, OverAchiever Media founder and a DC social media leader I missed meeting at the White House. We agreed to meet in person the following week to discuss our #SOTUSocial experiences.
I also gave my #SOTUSocial digital sisters a special #DigitalSisterhood Wednesday shout out on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter that featured a collage of several women I met during the event.
January 30: The next day I wrote my first blog recap post about being a digital citizen and my journey to the White House, and recorded a podcast that discussed my definition of a digital citizen. I shared the blog post with my social media network and retweeted, shared, and commented on blogs, photos, and tweets by my fellow social media leaders.
I updated my #SOTUSocial Pinterest board with links to the social media leaders’ articles, blogs, and photos. I also visited WhiteHouse.gov and found blog posts and videos to add to the Pinterest board.
February 3: I met Jason at Tynan Coffee & Tea and we recorded a podcast about our #SOTUSocial experience. Click here to listen (3 minutes).
I explored the WhiteHouse.gov blog to see if there were any ways I could deepen my social engagement this week. Guess what I found? A notice inviting social media leaders to apply to attend the White House French Arrival Ceremony Social (#WHSocial) on February 11. Since I am a Francophile (have been since my first French class in high school) and a digital diplomacy fan, I applied. You can too. The deadline is February 5 at 6:00 p.m. EST. Click here for details.
I also wrote a Tumblr blog post about my passion for France and desire to participate in the February 11th #WHSocial where President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will welcome French President François Hollande to the White House.
What’s Next: This week, I’ll be writing blog posts celebrating the dynamic women I met (for Digital Sisterhood Network’s blog), featuring the #SOTUChat highlights, and lessons I learned from the #SOTUSocial.
Did you participate in any State of the Union online activities such as the #SOTUSocial and #SOTUChat?
How did it feel to participate?
Click here to listen to my podcast (5 minutes) that highlights my participation in the State of the Union Social and how it reminded me of the importance of being a digital citizen, a concept I discussed during my talk on digital citizenship, digital sisterhood, and social media leadership at Spelman College’s Women Interactive Conference held in November 2013.
My Definition of Digital Citizen
A digital citizen is a person who uses her or his digital presence to mindfully share information and inspiration. Mindful sharing is thinking before you share your thoughts online and asking yourself if what you are planning to share will be helpful to others.
What is your definition of a digital citizen?
How are you planning to demonstrate your digital citizenship in 2014?
My Journey to the White House
I applied to participate in the State of the Union Social (#SOTUSocial) a few weeks ago. On January 20, I received an email from the White House indicating that I had been selected to develop and curate content, utilize the content to engage online communities, and live tweet at the #SOTUSocial (including the #SOTUChat panel discussion with White House officials and U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez after President Obama’s address).
Guess what? Over 6,000 applicants applied to participate in the #SOTUSocial. Only 60 social media leaders were chosen to visit the White House and attend the #SOTUSocial. What an honor to demonstrate my digital citizenship!
Click here to read my blog about my #SOTUSocial Group Tour to the White House (includes photos).
I developed three digital resources (one Pinterest board and two Twitter lists) to prepare for President Obama’s State of the Union address. Click here to read more about them.
This morning, I joined my fellow State of the Union Social attendees for a White House tour. Each of us applied to participate in the State of the Union Social (#SOTUSocial) a few weeks ago. The White House selected us to serve as digital citizens and to use our online presence to develop and curate content, utilize the content to engage online communities, and live tweet at the #SOTUSocial (including the #SOTUChat panel discussion with White House officials and U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez after President Obama’s address).
Guess what? Over 6,000 applicants applied to participate in the #SOTUSocial. Only 60 social media leaders were chosen to visit the White House and attend the #SOTUSocial. What an honor to demonstrate our digital citizenship through serving our country and communities with our digital presence!
During the tour, we had a chance to get to know each other. I discovered we are a diverse group of fun, friendly, passionate, and smart social media influencers and professionals, college students, public policy professionals, and teachers. We represented cities like Atlanta, Georgia; Boston, Massachusetts; Denver, Colorado; Greensboro, North Carolina; Madison, Wisconsin; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Seattle, Washington; and Washington, D.C. Together, we looked and sounded like the America I love.
After the tour and many photos, we walked to Starbucks for an impromptu meet up. I am so glad we spent more time connecting, sharing our experiences, and discussing what we hoped President Obama would highlight in his address.
PS: I developed three digital resources (one Pinterest board and two Twitter lists) to prepare for President Obama’s State of the Union address. Click here to read more about them.
Since it was cold in DC today, I decided to wear what I call a “femme chic” winter warm outfit that came straight from my closet by way of Macy’s Petites (Alfani knit jacket, blouse, and pants).
Guess where I will be next week on Internet Geek Tuesday, January 28? Live tweeting at the State of the Union White House Social. Yes I said the White House. And I’ll be using my smartphone to access the Uber app to arrange my transportation home from the event.
Have you heard of Uber?
Uber is a digital lifesaver for urban dwellers that was launched in 2009. Uber connects riders to drivers through its smartphone apps in over 50 cities in the United States and around the world.
Today is #DigitalSisterhood Wednesday on Twitter. It’s a weekly celebration that I host to honor women in social media. It always energizes me and leaves me feeling proud to be a woman who uses her digital voice to honor, connect with, and build community with a diverse group of social media women. Many of these women keep me informed, inspired, and encouraged.
Last week was a hard one. I had difficulty watching and reading the attacks against President Barack H. Obama. I took it personal. I let it all get to me. I started doubting my power to affirm and support the successful 2012 re-election of President Obama. My attitude shifted when I started reading the Twitterstream of Dr. Goddess and Zerlinda Maxwell on Saturday, June 9. They were live tweeting from the Netroots Nation annual conference. One of Zerlinda’s tweets included a link to President Obama’s video message to the Netroots Nation attendees. Click here to watch it.
After watching President Obama, I started to feel hopeful. My day got better when I went to run errands in my neighborhood and met two sistafriends who gave me a mouthful of reasons why they were stepping up their support for President Obama. I came home and wrote my mission statement and a list of the ways I will support President Obama’s successful re-election campaign. See below.
My Mission Statement
As a supporter of President Barack Obama, I choose to express my support by:
Sharing information and advocating Obama Administration policies and programs (especially the programs that support women and girls) with my fellow Americans;
Encouraging Americans to register to vote, to learn about President Obama’s successful policies and programs, and to invest financially in the Obama campaign; and
Investing in the Obama campaign financially each month to demonstrate my commitment to President Obama and to take ownership of the counrty I choose to live in as an American citizen.
Ways I Will Support President Obama
Create a mini vision board in my vision board book that affirms President Obama’s re-election and review it daily to keep my mind focused on the positive. (DONE)
Dedicate my daily yoga and meditation practice to sending positive energy to President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Obama family, Obama Administration, Obama 2012 Re-ElectionTeam, and people of the United States of America. (STARTED)
Invest in the Obama 2012 campaign on a regular basis by making a financial contribution each pay period. (WILL START THIS MONTH)
Use my summer and fall monthly yoga class as a fundraiser for the Obama 2012 Campaign. (WILL BEGIN ON JUNE 24)
Plan and host a local fundraiser for the Obama 2012 Campaign with one of my neighbors. (WILL BEGIN PLANNING IN JULY)
Stay updated on the White House Initiatives and Obama 2012 Re-Election Team’s efforts. (STARTED ON MONDAY)
Use my digital voice wisely to blog, post Facebook updates, and tweet about the great things the Obama Administration and 2012 Re-Election Team are doing each week. (STARTED TODAY)
Talk to people I meet about registering to vote and share the great things the Obama Administration has done to improve the United States since 2009.
Identify ways I can support the Obama 2012 Re-Election Team on the ground in the summer and fall. (STARTED ON MONDAY)
Talk to my father “J” about his digital activism in support of President Obama each week. Why? J stays on top of all things Obama. He uses his Facebook, Twitter, and email accounts to keep his network informed about the Obama Administration’s great works. His positive attitude and unwavering commitment to President Obama keep me uplifted. (STARTED ON MONDAY).
Check out my first week’s post about some of the great things President Obama and his team have done to improve the lives of women and girls. Most of my posts will focus on women and girls (so get ready!).
In April, the Obama Administration hosted the White House Forum on Women and the Economy and released a report that outlines a wide range of policies, programs, and initiatives that support women and girls at all stages of their lives. Nearly 200 women participated in a conversation about the critical role women play in driving U.S. economic progress. Click here for more details. WOMEN POWER ROCKS!
Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Obama and Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls, published a WhiteHouse.gov blog post that discussed how women entrepreneurs are creating jobs in June. It includes an interactive timeline with profiles of different women entrepreneurs. I discovered Yes! Organic Markets owner Kathy Rachel is featured in the timeline. I shop at Yes! two to three times per week in my D.C. neighborhood. I’ve been supporting this woman-owned business since 1992. GO WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS!
If you are on TEAM OBAMA, how are you supporting President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign? Share your comments below.
Guess where I was on Friday afternoon? The White House.
I visited the White House with my fellow Blogging While Brown 2010 Conference (BWB – www.bloggingwhilebrown.com) attendees for a meeting with Corey Ealons, Director of African American Media and Coordinator of Special Projects. Click here to see additional photos from my White House visit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/anandaleeke/sets/72157624182104723. During the 2008 General Election, Ealons served as director of African American Media for President Barack Obama. Melody Barnes, Director of Domestic Policy Council, and Jessie Lee, Online Programs Director, also met with us. This meeting set the tone for my BWB experience. It inspired and changed me. It also motivated me to step up my blogging and online activism! Look for news about my WhiteHouse.gov Wednesdays project in the coming days.
Click here to read my Examiner.com article about the meeting. The Washington Post also covered the meeting. Woo Hoo BWB!
Many thanks to Gina McCauley and the BWB team for a fabulous conference! It was the best BWB so far (loved 2008 and 2009 conferences too!).
Here’s a special treat! Watch an episode of Ananda Leeke TV featuring Corey Ealons speaking at Day #2 of BWB. He is an amazing person!
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,
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
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
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
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