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10 Things the Obama Generation Needs to Know

By Dena Robinson, Colgate University Class of 2012 and Francesca Acocella, Wellesley College Class of 2013

Our generation helped elect our country’s first black president – no small feat. But we were reminded on July 6 at Campus Progress National Conference 2011 that that wasn’t enough. As two among the over 1000 attendees at the empowering and mobilizing training day, we heard from dozens of policy experts and lawmakers who left us with a sense of pride in our generation and two key ideas:

Knowledge and facts are power. Former President Bill Clinton told us that the American people make rational decisions based upon what they know. He reminded us to separate the hype from the facts, to discern effectively the misinformation from knowledge. In his keynote address, President Clinton hammered home the annual conference’s 2011 theme of turning truth to power, a play on the Quaker saying “speaking truth to power.” What’s the best way to turn truth into power? Personal stories, which make for more effective advocacy. What’s the best way to be an activist? Share what you know – this rings true for college students and older activists alike.

The speakers at Campus Progress reminded of the countless success stories of this kind of advocacy, from the LGBTQ rights movement to immigration reform, both putting faces on diverse, broad causes. But the rest of our generation is different. They don’t seem to find the statistics of women’s wages ...

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