Diversity a staple in Obama’s life
Four years ago, many Americans didn’t know who he was.
Now he is running to become the 44th President of the United States .
Across the nation, countless people have met Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., who began his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination 19 months ago with a want of change.
From the start, Obama has led a life of diversity.
Obama was born Aug. 4, 196l, in the Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu to a free-spirited mother from Kansas and a mostly absent father from Kenya. Obama’s father abandoned the family when he was just two years old. Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham, remarried in 1963 to an Indonesian man, moving the family with stepfather to Jakarta.
In 1971, Obama returned to Hawaii to live with his maternal grandparents, enrolling at Punahou School, a private school in the country. In 1979, he moved to Los Angeles to attend Occidental College, and later transferred to Columbia College in 1981 to major in political science.
But one year before Obama could graduate in 1983, his father died in a car accident.
As time continued, Obama ingrained himself within Chicago, as a community organizer in 1985. This helped shape his leadership skills for his time at Harvard Law School, where he became the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review.
Obama graduated with magna cum laude in 1991, and in the same year moved back to Chicago to direct a grass roots campaign Project Vote.
Then there came love.
The endearing relationship between Obama and Michelle Robinson can be read like an old love story, where the two met in a downtown Chicago law firm, with Robinson as Obama’s summer mentor. After Obama’s initial advancements toward her were turned down, Robinson finally agreed to date him, and the couple married in October 1992. Obama’s mother was able to meet his wife, yet died from ovarian cancer in 1995, unable to meet her two grandchildren – Malia, born in 1999, and Sasha, born in 2001.
As an senator in the Illinois state legislature, Obama created the state Earned Income Tax Credit program, which helped cut more than $100 million dollars in taxes for families within three years. According to his official Web site, he also helped expand early childhood education, and worked with law enforcement to crack down on the interrogation process after some inmates on death row were actually found innocent.
In the U.S. Senate, Obama’s first law was passed to allow Americans to go online and view how their tax dollars were being spent. As a member of the Veteran’s Affairs Committee, Obama pushed to help Illinois veterans receive financial reimbursement.
In July 2004, after his March victory for the U.S. Senate primary, Obama delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention. This was the platform where many people were first introduced to the future presidential candidate.
For students such as Bloomfield freshman Scott Cooke, experience trumps change in this upcoming election. Cooke feels that Obama is competent enough, but needs more time.
“Obama is so young and ambitious, and trying to help create a better middle class, but I feel he doesn’t have the experience needed to be able to run our country.” Cooke said.
Novi freshman Andrea Jennens said she hopes to learn more about the candidates and which one suits her best.
“I don’t like Obama’s plan because he wants to help everybody, but this is America where people are supposed to work for themselves,” Jennens said.
For teacher education and professional development professor Mary Aylor, there is great anticipation for the upcoming election.
“I’m nervous and excited, because I think this election is the most important one in my lifetime. I want Barack Obama to win because I believe he is the best person for the job,” Aylor said. “And I hope that voters will take the time to really learn about the candidates and vote for the person who will do the best job for everybody in this country.”
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