Co-authored by Zack Brisson & Laura Heaton
Four years ago, asking the President of the United States a meaningful question would have required serious power, uncommon access, or a lot of luck combined with being in the right place at the right time. Not anymore.
Thanks to CitizenTube and the connective power of the internet, any one of us can reach the president. Yesterday, we did. Following up on last week’s State of the Union address, YouTube hosted a community driven "Your State of the Union." Steve Grove, YouTube’s head of news & politics, asked President Obama a wide variety of questions, submitted and selected by citizens around the country, if not the world.
At the Enough Project, the challenges in Sudan right now are incredibly important to us. Recognizing that President Obama didn’t address the crisis in Sudan at his State of the Union, we were eager to take advantage of the opportunity YouTube offered to engage directly with the president. Seeing the chance to get our concerns about an issue that we feel is underappreciated, we mobilized to get our question to Mr. Obama.
Late last week, we videotaped our question, eloquently delivered by our intern Alison Grady. Then we asked our supporters, fans, partners, and others who care about the message to vote and pass the word.
Thanks to the support of grassroots activists, partners like Genocide Intervention Network, Save Darfur Coalition, Invisible Children, and Change.org, our question was the most popular in the foreign policy category. In response, President Obama gave his lengthiest remarks on Sudan since announcing his special envoy for Sudan last March. (Granted, we were disappointed with the substance, but for this post at least we’re staying focused on the positive.)
All of us at Enough are deeply thankful to YouTube for increasing access to the president, to Mr. Obama for thoughtfully responding to our question, and to all of the passionate Sudan advocates who took action and made their voices heard. Sudan advocates, let’s keep the momentum going:
Sign our petition and tell President Obama that we need increased pressures and a full-time field based presence in Sudan.