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Democracy Representative Government Untold Stories We are Emerging We are Engaged

Democracy in Action

k_riley Sep 18
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In 2008, when I was in 8th grade, my mother persuaded me to go door-to-door canvassing with her for then presidential candidate, Barack Obama.

As we approached the first door, I remember feeling nervous. I wasn’t certain what the resident’s response would be. The woman who opened the door appeared to be initially hesitant before a huge smile spread across her face. She and my mother spoke at length and with enthusiasm about their candidate and his policies, and of others who felt the same.

Not all responses were positive. We had plenty of folks turn us away the moment we uttered the words “democratic party”. My mother kindly accepted, understanding and helping me to understand that not everyone shared her same thoughts and beliefs politically.

Come election night, my parents hosted a watch party at our home for friends and fellow supporters. Nervousness and anxiety slowly gave way to excitement and celebration as we watched the results unfold and history be made. It was apparent that those in our home felt so proud of their candidate, country and individual efforts – my mother included. She would go on to participate in Obama’s 2012 campaign as well, working the phones and supporting the local field office staff.

Influenced by my mother’s example, I have discovered a passion for political engagement. I have since canvassed for local elections in Virginia and am excited to continue my participation with midterm elections coming up in November.

Our collective voices and actions have the ability to shape our representation and thus our country – something I continue to find both empowering and exciting.

Editor’s note: Want to join the 2019 Commemoration in bringing together top emerging political, civic and governmental leaders discussing and reflecting on modern-day democracy? Don’t miss the Global Pathfinder Summit.


  1. AE Curator September 24, 2018

    Thank you so much for sharing this story! We hope you can serve as an example for other emerging leaders interested in becoming more politically engaged.


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