The Obama Legacy Initiative was created to empower citizens and communities across the nation who wish to honor President Obama’s legacy in ways that are meaningful to them. We provide technical and media support to legislators, educators, students, community advocates and organizations who wish to name programs or physical spaces such as schools, parks or community centers after President Obama.
President Obama’s election and presidency symbolized to millions of Americans the progress that our nation has made and the fact that, despite our challenges, Americans can accomplish great things by working together. Our Board of Directors, comprised of leaders from all walks of life who were personally inspired by the President’s accomplishments, encourages you to learn more about our organization and contact us if we can help you commemorate the Obama legacy in your own community.
A Note From Sean Tenner, Board Chair:
Working on the Obama campaigns – from his first U.S. Senate Primary Election in March of 2004 to the Presidential race – has been by far the greatest honor of my life. The spirit of those campaigns came not just from President Obama himself from also from the amazing group of staff and volunteers he energized and inspired to join his team. He built a true family – not just a temporary campaign operation. From 2004 on – every fellow Obama staff person I worked with was honest, hard-working, dedicated, and as committed to progressive ideals and American values as President Obama himself.
During the 2008 Presidential campaign it was my role on staff to organize thousands of leaders and volunteers from Illinois to campaign in Iowa on the President’s behalf. Illinois was certain to “go blue” but Iowa was a swing state – President Bush having won it in 2004 by less than a percentage point. One day I will never forget came in September of 2008 when Illinois was hit with its hardest two-day rainfall in history. I had organized a canvass in Muscatine, Iowa – which was over 215 miles (a nearly four hour drive) from where many of our volunteers were located in Evanston, Illinois. As the torrential rain poured all over Illinois, I prepared myself (and those I reported to) for the fact that we would be lucky to have even one person show up in the rain. Despite it all, over 150 people made the grueling trek to Muscatine to work for someone they believed in. My colleague Toni Gilpin of the Democratic Party of Evanston summed it up for me poignantly that day, “this is how we know we are going to win this election.”
The President’s legacy lives on in the millions of Americans of all backgrounds that he inspired and brought in to the political system. We will never go back to the time when African-American children couldn’t even dream about becoming President. ~ Sean Tenner, President, KNI Communications
Board member Kathleen Schneider :
I appreciated the values exhibited by President Obama, both as the leader of our country and through his family.
He believes in helping to make the world a better place. Joining OLI has given me the opportunity to contribute to
the betterment of others.
One small way in which I can help others is to help foster the development of the OLI Garden Project. Helping to
organize the growing of the produce to help those in need of access to healthy food is a positive experience.
The involvement and education of the children at The Warren-Sharpe Community Center spoke to me. As a retired
teacher it is exciting to know that the education of children in growing, cooking, and eating healthy food may change their lives for the better.
Everyone can help in this endeavor. Even vegetables grown in a pot on a patio or one more plant in a garden will produce needed healthy food.
It all makes a difference in the lives and health of others. That is a positive contribution.
Board Member Roger Chawla :
Gardening has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I was born in India, and when I was a child my grandmother taught me all the basics. She taught me how to identify weeds, what plants to harvest when, how to use the different components of the soil – and through this all she taught me patience and responsibility.
While the majority of my family moved to the U.S. when I was nine, my grandmother remained in India, so gardening became even more important to me because it allowed me to feel close to her even though she was an ocean away. As I grew older, I continued to grow things. In Hinsdale I volunteered at a garden club and beautified the grounds of my town’s nursing home. After moving to Naperville, I joined my community garden there and bonded with my neighbors over our cultural similarities and differences. When my family harvested too many vegetables to eat before they went bad, we gave them to our closest friends, who would in turn cook the vegetables we grew for us to eat. I taught my children to garden like my grandmother taught me.
Gardening has always brought my family and community closer together, so it was only natural for me to join the OLI. I loved how Michelle Obama donated the White House gardens’ vegetables to the Food Bank Organization, and, like gardening brought my family together, I hope to help her legacy of gardening to bring our nation together. Roger Chawla is a CPA and the heart and soul of Chawla & Associates, located in Naperville, IL.