Rip Patton was a 21 year old student at Tennessee A & I College (the school we now call Tennessee State University) when he felt the urgency to join The Nashville Student Movement. They were preparing to send a new group of Freedom Riders to Birmingham, AL just 4 days after C.O.R.E.'s bus number 1 was burned in Anniston, AL in 1961 - the year President Obama was born. The words “Nashville Student Movement” may not be as well known as “The Freedom Riders”, but if not for the students from Nashville who were determined to finish what the first group had started, it’s my belief that Barack Obama would not have been elected President in 2008.....barely two generations removed from 1961. And if Barack Obama hadn’t run for president, many of us involved in his campaign would never have crossed paths. As new Summer Organizers eager to make lasting change in Tennessee, ask yourselves, could you get on the bus as Rip Patton did when he was the same age as many of you?
Rip came to a campaign training to make sure a new generation of organizers understand the power they have.
Our city is filled with the rich history of people like Rip Patton taking a stand for their beliefs and becoming part of something much greater than themselves. If Rip Patton was brave enough to join his brothers and sisters in traveling to a place fiercely divided by racism, a place where First Baptist Church was firebombed merely two days prior to his arrival, then surely we – as Regional Field Directors, Summer Organizers, and volunteers – can come together to take a stand for President Obama. Join us today. Stand with President Obama for a better future and a stronger America! Make sure we know you are “In” for 2012!