DEAR SENATOR OBAMA

Earlier this year Cllr. Kris Brown; one of the youngest Councillors in the UK, and a Compass Youth activist went to the US of A to help Barack Obama in his Primary Election's bid. Here he asked us to publish the letter he has written to President Elect Obama following his historic victory last week:




"Dear Senator Obama,
Although I know I am not the first nor will be the last to do this, I am writing to congratulate you on your historic election win to become the 44th President of the United States of America.

I was elected to my role as a Councillor on the London Borough of Enfield in 2006 at the age of 21. I am often being praised for getting elected so young. Sadly, my story is not reflective amongst the majority of my generation. So many young people care deeply about political issues – like the many millions who marched against the war in Iraq, against climate change or joined the Make Poverty History campaign. However, they feel the vehicle of our democracy, through voting or standing for public office is no longer a force for change while politicians continue to move towards the centre ground and continue with the status quo.

The area I represent is called Edmonton Green – a place I have lived all my life. It is an area of high social deprivation with unemployment and worklessness above the average of the UK. Edmonton is also a place of great and rich diversity, with Afro-Caribbean, Turkish, Greek, Irish and Bengali communities living and working together. I think our diversity gives us character and makes us stronger as a community. Sadly again, there are people in Edmonton that do not see politics as a power to change things. But despite this I never lose heart and will continue to fight to make my constituents lives better. It is because I still believe in politics as a force of change that lead me to support your campaign.

Up until March of this year, I had never travelled the United States before – in fact, I had never left Europe. But for a couple of weeks in that month, I journeyed to your office in Chicago to work on the campaign. Despite the cold, I worked tirelessly calling voters on using phones, working on the internet and more, determined to win you the Texas primary. Sadly, you lost to Senator Clinton (who I have very much respect for) but I was still immensely proud to work with such brilliant people. Previous to that you had something around eight straight victories. When I returned home friends jokingly mocked me that it was I who broke your chain of success. I seriously hope not.

Many people from the UK went to help you during the actual Presidential race against Senator McCain. As much as would have liked to have done so too, I felt it was incredibly important to help you during the nomination period. Through my own personal experience with the Labour Party, sometimes securing the support of party members is the hardest part.

Whilst in Chicago, I was amazed by how many ordinary people were working on your campaign, particularly those who had never voted before, or the many young people I met who were not at an age to vote in these elections but still wanted to help. It is a real testament to a campaign that was grass root led and empowered millions of people under the common cause of “Yes we can”.

I was equally amazed at all the innovative new ways of campaigning, particularly using personalised social networking media like Facebook and my.barackobama.com. Recently, I bought an Apple iPhone and was excited to see an application to connect with voters through it. There is much my party can learn from this style of campaigning to help us with our efforts in the future.

More recently I have been working with Democrats Abroad to help register Americans in the UK to vote in the election. We registered a record amount of people and the voting numbers reflected that. The determination of your campaign to reach out to Americans abroad as well as at home is to be commended. Your campaign understood Americans abroad love and care about their country and should have an equal influence on its future.

I will never forget 2008. I hope this year will remain in history books for centuries to come, as it will teach generation after generation, that the politics of hope is very much alive, that nobody can tell you something is impossible. When things are bad there’s nothing to suggest they cannot get better.


I am not going to pretend, and I believe you will not either, that your Presidency will make everything perfect, the same way I do not believe being a Councillor will make everything perfect. It is not our job to do that. It’s our job to be the building blocks for people to decide their own fate so they can live long, healthy and happy lives.

We face huge challenges in the world. I am now a bit more confident we can see through them.

Yours sincerely

Cllr Kris Brown
Labour Party Councillor for Edmonton Green

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