Category Archives: Barack Obama

Todd Jones: A solid choice for ATF director

Tomorrow the Senate is expected to vote on Todd Jones’s nomination for director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). If you’re an OFA supporter who cares about reducing gun violence (and there are a lot of you) you should know why President Obama nominated Jones for the job, and why it matters.

Jones is a former U.S. Marine commander and U.S. attorney. He’s been serving as acting director of the ATF since 2011, focusing on prevention and cooperation with those on the frontline—including state and federal law enforcement as well as victims’ rights advocates.

But it’s not just that Jones is a solid choice for for the job—the ATF’s vital mission is being hampered by its lack of permanent leadership. The ATF is charged with protecting our communities from violent criminals and crime, including gun violence. It helps local law enforcement to trace guns found at crime scenes and clamps down on gun traffickers—but the ATF has gone without a Senate-confirmed director for seven years.

This isn’t the kind of agency that should be without an experienced director at its helm. Gun violence prevention remains one of the top challenges facing our country, and the ATF will be stronger and more effective in stopping guns from landing in the hands of criminals with Jones as its director.

Jones’s nomination was sent to the Senate six months ago. Contact your senators today via the Capitol switchboard: 202-224-3121. Tell them it’s time to give the ATF the strong, stable leadership it needs to protect our communities from gun violence and dangerous crime.

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Watch: President Obama at the Action August summit

On Monday, July 22, President Obama spoke to a room full of OFA supporters. Watch the President’s speech:

This August, you can make a powerful difference. While members of congress are home on recess, we’ll be holding Action August events and making our voices heard for change. Get involved now.

Commit to Action August

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A climate change house party gets a surprise visitor

Earlier this month, I hosted an OFA climate change house party at my home in Portland, Oregon, where 25 volunteers and concerned citizens came together to hear from our special guest: U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley.

Sen Merkley supports President Obama’s plan to take action to protect America from the effects of climate change, and he quoted the President: “What we need in this fight are citizens who will stand up, speak up, and compel us to do what this moment demands.” He reminded us that gridlock in Congress means that volunteers like us have a duty to move the conversation about climate change forward.

It was an informative event, but it was also just the beginning. During the congressional recess in August, we’re going to bring this debate to our representatives’ offices and town halls. As part of Action August, we’ve planned events ranging from phone banks and parades to flyering to draw attention to the issue of climate change and jump-start the conversation in our community.

Find out what’s going on in your state during Action August, or plan your own event. Get involved today.

I’m in

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OFA fellows are fired up and ready for you to join them

Organizing for Action is looking for passionate new leaders who are interested in tackling our country’s big issues for our OFA Fall Fellowship program. This three-month volunteer program is explicitly designed to train the next generation of OFA leaders—if that sounds like you, you can apply today.

Fall Fellows will be working on important issues affecting our country—from protecting Obamacare, to combating climate change, to passing comprehensive immigration reform, Fellows do work that matters every single day.

Want to know more? Check out what the most recent round of summer Fellows have to say about their experiences:

“While participating in events that are helping to move our country forward, I have been learning press, earned media, and fundraising from the best of the best… This fellowship has changed my life. I am truly thankful to be a summer Fellow with Organizing For Action.” —Trina Longacre, NC

“It’s been a great time with the fellowship so far… I organized a press conference in front of Congressman Connolly’s Fairfax office with a group of OFA volunteers and we thanked him for supporting comprehensive immigration reform. The congressman came out and gave an uplifting speech about the American Dream and the need for immigration reform, and happily took pictures with everyone. It was an energizing moment for our group!” —Kimberly Woods, VA

“I have been working a lot with my chapter (OFA Chicago North) in helping plan events, promoting events via social media (I am a digital fellow), and acting as a speaker at several events… One event that I am especially proud of is the press conference outside of Congressman Dan Lipinski’s office on Monday, July 1. About 15 people gathered outside of Lipinski’s office to make our voices heard… Two local press outlets attended the event and published newspaper articles about the press conference.” — Agnes Iodan, IL

Applications are due by August 2, but the program fills on a rolling basis — so don’t wait! Apply today.


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We have news

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OFA volunteers #TakeItToTheHouse for immigration reform

Two weeks ago, the U.S. Senate held a bipartisan vote to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill. Now OFA volunteers are putting pressure on the House of Representatives to step up and do the same.

Supporters across the country were out in force this week, urging their representatives to move immigration reform forward. In anticipation of yesterday’s House Republican Caucus meeting with Speaker John Boehner, they were out in their communities making their voices heard.

[View the story “Take it to the House” on Storify]

  • Volunteers in Colorado ran a phone bank to talk one-on-one to the community about the importance of immigration reform.

  • An intersection in East Los Angeles, California was transformed into a Honk for Immigration Reform rally.

  • Organizers in Ohio gathered outside Speaker Boehner’s office to show their support for comprehensive, compassionate reform.

  • OFA volunteers in New Jersey met with their Congressman, Rep. Chris Smith, to urge him to support immigration reform.

  • OFA Missouri organizers in St. Louis leafletted their local small businesses.

This fight isn’t over yet. Following the House Republicans’ meeting, OFA volunteers are determined to keep up the pressure and make reform a reality. Until there is a comprehensive immigration reform bill headed to President Obama’s desk, our work continues. Say you’ll join the fight.


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In the news: OFA volunteers rally nationwide for immigration reform

The fight for immigration reform is on its way through the House, and OFA volunteers are at the forefront of efforts to get it passed. Yesterday, folks in Latino neighborhoods held community action events to ratchet up the pressure on their lawmakers.

OFA events received plenty of attention from local media:

Sioux City Journal (Sioux City, IA)

Volunteers rallied in front of Rep. Steve King’s office to support comprehensive immigration reform and urge him not to stand in the way of the American Dream.

WHIO TV (Dayton, OH)
Leaders with the nonprofit Organizing for Action told those gathered that Speaker Boehner needs to make comprehensive immigration reform a priority.

“We need a pathway to citizenship and need other aspects in the Senate’s legislation. We do need border security, we need to streamline this ineffective immigration process we have now,” said Dominic Lijoi, coordinator for Organizing for Action.

Brittany Bramell, a spokeswoman for Boehner, said aides have forwarded constituents’ concerns about immigration reform to Speaker Boehner.

WCPO TV (Cincinnati, OH)

Dozens of [Organizing for Action] protesters rallied Monday outside House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) office in West Chester to push for immigration reform.

Members of the group said they want the House to pass immigration reform similar to the bi-partisan bill passed in the Senate. In a 68-32 vote, the Senate approved a 1,200-page bill to re-vamp immigration laws.

An OFA news release says the bill would strengthen border security, crack down on employers who hire undocumented workers while strengthening the economy.

“I know that they have to go through their process which is the democratic way. But we’ve already seen that we have an accord recently in the senate that was bipartisan,” said Dominic Lijoi.

Lijoi says that he hopes Boehner will navigate through the House to the bill passed because it’s the right thing to do.

The Fresno Bee (Fresno, CA)

This is what Olga Solorio has striven for to help her students. She is a volunteer with Organizing for Action—the group that organized Monday’s news conference—and a teacher at Annie R. Mitchell Elementary School in Visalia.

Solorio said she told the mother of one of her second-grade students how bright the child was, and how the girl had the potential to some day go to college.

The child’s mother said college isn’t an option because she is not a citizen, and her daughter will grow up to work in the fields.

“That just broke my heart because I could see the potential in this little girl,” Solorio said.

Solorio said that child was just one example of students who can’t get financial aid or who face other barriers because of their residency status.

It’s not too late to throw your support behind immigration reform and keep this momentum going into the House. Add your name today.

Add your name

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Taking it to the House

OFA supporters are sending a clear message to lawmakers: If you stand in the way of immigration reform, your community will hold you accountable.

After last week’s historic 68-32 Senate vote to pass comprehensive immigration reform, local OFA chapters around the country got busy thanking senators who stood up for reform, calling out senators who voted “no” and calling on members in the House to take the baton.

Folks in key districts handed out thousands of flyers in English and Spanish, showing exactly which senators stood in the way of reform and asking people to call their representatives in the House to show their support.

Here’s a taste of the action over the weekend:

Milwaukee, WI
Volunteers handed out flyers in a Latino community, letting people know where Senator Johnson stands.

Columbus, OH
Volunteers handed out flyers to hold Sen. Portman accountable and let Speaker Boehner know Ohio supports comprehensive immigration reform.

Philadelphia, PA
OFA-PA volunteers hit the streets to hold Senator Toomey accountable for his vote.

Reno, NV
A local market in Reno put flyers in each customer’s bag, urging them to contact their representatives in support of reform.

Dallas, TX
Volunteers across the Lone Star State let people know that their senators stood in the way of reform.

Want to join get in on the action where you live? Sign up today.

Join the action

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A major step for immigration reform

The Senate did the right thing yesterday. A bipartisan majority of Democrats and Republicans—68 in all—seized this opportunity to fix our broken immigration system and voted to pass comprehensive reform.

To the 68 senators who had the courage to vote “aye,” thank you. You understand that we are a nation of immigrants and our policies should reflect that.

And most of all, thank you to the OFA volunteers who fought so hard to make this happen. Those senators didn’t make their decisions alone—they had the voice of the American people in their ear, urging them to do the right thing.

OFA chapters have been busy laying the groundwork for this historic vote for months now, holding more than 1,200 events across the country. On Tuesday alone, volunteers at 115 different phone banks made 18,000 calls to both English- and Spanish-speaking Americans, urging them to call their senators in support of immigration reform.

That’s exactly the kind of dedication we need to carry this across the finish line, because the real fight is just getting started.

Passing this bill through the House of Representatives is going to be an uphill climb. If we want to get this done, we need every single person who cares about immigration reform to double down right now.

Congrats on a big victory yesterday. Now let’s get back to work and make history.


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Upheld, one year ago today


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