November 14, 2008

Thousands of Black Online Activists Detail Their Role in Historic Campaign


ColorOfChange.org released an interactive map highlighting the personal stories of thousands of online activists who mobilized support for the Obama campaign. The 450,000 member online civil rights organization collected more than 7,800 stories across the last week as part of the "Election Stories" project, providing a digital snapshot of the impact of Obama's election on Black Americans and their allies, Black online activists' contributions to the campaign, and also their experience at the polls on Election Day.

"Many of our members were active and engaged before the Obama campaign started, but hearing the real stories of those who got involved is emotional, inspiring, and sometimes heart-wrenching," said James Rucker, executive director of ColorOfChange.org. "But what stands out most clearly from the stories comes as no surprise. This year, our members – like other Black Americans from coast to coast – were not only ready for change in Washington—they were ready to stand up and fight for it."

After collecting reactions to the news of Obama's victory, the results were plotted on a Google map, allowing viewers to get an inside look at the election's impact on their next-door neighbors, as well as someone on the other side of the country.

Alongside the emotional reactions to the Obama victory, the Election Stories project also collected key data including whether respondents were first-time voters and if they went to the polls on election day or voted early. In addition, ColorOfChange.org members showed the ways, big and small, they contributed to the campaign – by voting, canvassing, phonebanking, participating in ColorOfChange.org campaigns or simply passing on information to friends.

The contributions were significant:
  • 15% of respondents canvassed during the campaign.
  • 30% registered voters.
  • 42% made a financial contribution.

Voting experiences showed these highly-motivated voters persevered despite problems at the polls on Election Day:
  • 523 said they stood in line for 3 hours on Election Day. Another 86 said they waited for 6 hours or more.
  • 4% were first-time voters.
  • 33% said they voted early.

ColorOfChange.org plans to use the information to keep their members active, even as an extremely popular president takes office.

"Before the campaign, our members were already standing up and winning real change on issues like criminal justice and voting rights," Rucker added. "Obama's victory only reaffirms the necessity of that grassroots movement for change and the important role Black Americans play within it. When enough of us act together – even in small ways – we can write history. That idea is even bigger than putting a Black man in the White House."

4 comments:

Jamie said...

I saw the planning and execution up front and personal as I was a Hillary delegate here in Washington. The Obama folks had obviously been very well schooled and organized. They came prepared with signs, stickers, banners, and most of all people who came in groups that indicated they had a Get Out the Vote location off site to load in cars and transport to the caucus.
The other candidates simply didn't know what hit them.

If the President Elect Obama (love typing that) runs the country even half as well as he ran his campaign, the whole nation will benefit.

Villager said...

Jamie - McCain-Palin campaign ridiculed Obama for his 'community organizer' past. I guess they learned first-hand the skillset of a 'community organizer'... (smile)

SjP said...

Who would have thought it. We did help to make history didn't we. Kind of puts that 'community organizer"-thing into a different perspective doesn't it?

Villager said...

Sojourner - We did see history made ... and I think that the concept and power of 'community organizers' took a quantum leap...