Name: Anjali Sawh
Campaign role: Obama organizing fellow
Hometown: Edmond, Oklahoma
Organizing in: Durham, North Carolina
Q1. What do you do for the campaign?
Since I am a freshman at Duke University, I do the majority of my work on campus. I have done almost everything possible when working on a campaign: data entry, phonebanking, voter registration, one-on-one meetings with potential volunteers, and staffing the occasional VIP event. I believe that my most significant impact, however, has been empowering other students and members of the Durham community to volunteer and become a part of the campaign. As we get more and more volunteers, we, as an organization, are able to reach out and connect with more people, and spread awareness about the wonderful things President Obama has done for us.
Q2. How did you first come to the campaign?
I have been a fan of President Obama since his primary election days in 2008 when he was running against then-Senator Clinton. Unfortunately, I did not actively participate in his campaign then, as I was young and inexperienced with the U.S. political system. However, after my first semester of college, I decided my interests lay somewhere in the public policy sector. This year, living in the same state as the upcoming Democratic National Convention was too tempting to ignore, so I went to barackobama.com and clicked the “volunteer” button; I was amazed at how easy it was to apply to become a leader in the campaign! After sending in my application and resume, I was contacted by Durham’s regional field director—and the rest is history.
Q3. What’s your favorite part of your role?
There seems to be a general consensus that the best part of this campaign is the people you meet and the lasting friendships you make. I believe this to be true, as it is the warm and friendly natures of the other volunteers that make me love being a part of this campaign. I have never once felt alone while working; someone has always been there to help and guide me. When other volunteers smile and appreciate the work I have done, I know I am making a difference, and that is the most rewarding feeling I get from working on this campaign.
Q4. What’s the most unexpected part of your role?
When people tell me that they do not care about what is going on in their own political system, or that their votes do not matter, it worries me. Although countless people have fought and died for this right over the course of America’s history, I fear that many people take our democracy for granted. Our ability to vote and voice our opinions is what makes this country so influential, and it is truly saddening to see so many people willingly cast their rights aside.
Q5. Tell us a fun fact about yourself.
Until March 16th, 2012, I was a citizen of Jamaica. Some people would ask me why I was working so hard on this campaign when I was not even a “true” American, but it was precisely because I was not a citizen that I understood, and continue to understand, the value of American democracy. Both of my parents and my brother will also become citizens later this year, and I have made sure that they will register to vote as soon as they receive their naturalization certificates (you are never off the clock when working on a campaign!). In general, I value the right to vote simply because I have had to work for it. The best things in life are the ones we work for, and I am proud of the fact that we will all be able to vote for our President’s re-election in November. In fact, the picture above is actually of when I registered myself to vote!