My name is Fannie L. Atcitty. I’m a retiree, a board member of our local tribal college, and a volunteer organizer with President Obama’s campaign in Shiprock, Navajo Nation, New Mexico.
My favorite part of organizing in the “land of enchantment” is getting to meet such a diverse group of people—and re-connecting with friends I haven’t seen in many years. It’s great talking with people about the issues we’re facing in New Mexico and exchanging ideas about all the things we can do to make our state better. We talk about education, health services for our community, improving our roads and transportation, and getting benefits out to the rural areas. Those are the reasons we come together for the campaign—and as we work across different ethnic groups here in New Mexico, it’s about making the home we love even greater.
As Navajos, so many of us identify with President Obama. We know what it feels like to deal with hardship, and we know our outlet is education. That’s especially true in my generation—I’m in my 60s. I was the first one of my 12 siblings to go to college, followed by my sister. My mom is monolingual—she doesn’t speak any English, but she really encouraged education, and it’s become my passion—from Head Start all the way up to higher education. So President Obama’s record on this issue means a lot to me—he’s the first president who really recognized tribal colleges, and acknowledged us for the unique way we’re serving our communities.
Right now, my team is pushing to get out the vote, make sure everyone’s registered, and train people to register voters. Our neighboring border town has a high percentage of Republicans, so our challenge is to out-organize them, and to really get out the vote with all of the younger people. With the older members of our community, we’re more focused on encouraging them to get involved, and communicating how much President Obama’s policies help them.
We’ve got our big kickoff coming up on July 14th—there are so many people waiting to get things started, and they’ve been calling us to ask “what do you want me to do?” We know we have some obstacles to overcome, but we all have a great interest in President Obama’s re-election—we want to see him have another four years to complete the tasks he’s undertaken.