Can Bloggers Put Hope Back into the 2012 Election?
2008 was the first Election in American History where bloggers and vloggers helped shape the political narrative and carry President Obama to the presidency. 4 years later, the Administration has not nurtured these pop cultural connections. Will the blogosphere turn out for Obama in 2012?
The Executive Director of the League of Young Voters, Rob "Biko" Baker is a nationally recognized young leader. In his home community of Milwaukee, he has organized town hall meetings and used the power and agency of art to inform, mobilize, and motivate young people to participate in civic life. Baker has served as the deputy publicity coordinator and young voter organizer for the Brown and Black Presidential Forum. He has appeared on C-SPAN, Fox News and CNN, has interviewed luminaries Cornel West, Russell Simmons, and Howard Dean, and has been on panels with many of the nation's strongest progressive voices. Baker is a Ph.D. candidate at UCLA, a frequent contributor to The Source, serves on CIRCLE's research advisory board and is a board member of the New Organizing Institute.
For the last ten years, Chloé A. Hilliard has been a culture/entertainment journalist, writing for The Village Voice, Essence, Vibe, King, and The Source. Currently, Chloé is the Editorial Director of Loop21.com, which focuses on politics, culture, and entertainment from a hip perspective. Prior to TheLoop21, Chloé served as the Managing Editor/Social Media Manager for VIBE, a leading urban entertainment magazine and website. She has also been a staff writer for The Village Voice, America’s largest weekly newspaper. There, she chronicled lesbian thugs, BET’s transformation and eminent domain in Brooklyn. Chloé is also a former News Editor at The Source. For her expertise on Hip Hop culture she’s appeared on CNN Headline News, ABC News, Our World with Black Enterprise and C-Span. Her work has been featured in Best African American Essays: 2009.
Erica Williams is a social commentator and advocate who works to creatively engage the next generation in civic and political life. She is currently Senior Strategist at Citizen Engagement Laboratory, an incubator for projects that use technology and digital media to engage communities in cutting edge campaigns. Prior to joining CEL, Erica was the co-founder of Progress 2050, a project of the Center for American Progress that used demographic data and policy analysis to advance progressive ideas reflective of an increasingly diverse nation. Listed by Politico.com as one of 50 Top Politicos, Erica served as the Deputy Director of the Center's youth organization, Campus Progress. There she directed advocacy campaigns in the areas of equal opportunity, college access/affordability, health care, and energy. Erica also worked at the Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights, supporting grassroots strategy of over 200 national organizations on voting rights, higher education, and telecommunications policy. She is a World Economic Forum Young Global Shaper whos work and commentary has been featured on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, CNN, MTV, BET and the Washington Post. Erica is a proud Washington area native and preacher's kid.
Quentin James is the National Director for the Sierra Student Coalition, the youth arm of the Sierra Club. There, Quentin directs the twenty year old organization to train, empower, and organize youth to run effective campaigns that result in tangible environmental victories and develop leaders for the environmental movement. In 2008, Quentin served as the Deputy Youth Vote Director in Ohio for the Obama Campaign, where he helped organize 315,000 college students at 32 colleges and universities. In 2009, Quentin joined Congresswoman Carolyn Kilpatrick's legislative
staff on Capitol Hill serving as a staff assistant and legislative correspondent, and afterwards served as the Executive Political Aide for Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins at Green for All. Quentin's work has been featured in
many national outlets, books, and publications such as Ebony Magazine, Parade Magazine, the Tavis Smiley Show and Tina Rosenberg's New York Time's Bestseller "Join the Club." Currently Quentin serves as one of the youngest national board members for the NAACP, helping direct the 103 year old organization's youth and young adult engagement. Quentin received a Bachelors of Arts in Africana Studies from Howard University in Washington, DC.
Rashad Robinson serves as Executive Director of ColorOfChange, having joined the organization in May 2011. For well over a decade, Robinson has helped to mobilize communities across the country to create more inclusive cultural and political institutions. A recognized expert on how popular culture impacts American attitudes and values, he has served as a thought leader, widely sought-out speaker and strategist on utilizing media to shift public opinion concerning progressive and civil rights issues. He has appeared in hundreds of news stories, interviews, and political discussions through outlets such as ABC, BET, CNN, MSNBC, OWN, The New York Times, Fast Company, and NPR. In 2010 and 2011, Robinson was selected as one of "The Root 100," a list of emerging and influential African Americans under 45. He has previously held leadership roles at GLAAD, the Right to Vote Campaign, and FairVote.