MINNEAPOLIS – The wife of Democratic presidential aspirant Barack Obama urged a group of community organizers in Minneapolis Wednesday to step up their campaign to educate people on the importance of participating in the political process.
Michelle Obama spoke during a tour of Hope Community, a 112-unit low-income housing complex located in the Phillips West neighborhood of Minneapolis.
“The biggest challenge is pushing people to understand the concepts of self interest and power,” Obama said.
Obama asked citizens not to give up on the political process because despair would only lead to more marginalization. She talked about the need to heed her husband’s call for an election system based on interaction with communities.
“When Barack talks, he talks about elections and campaigns as community organizing exercises,” she said. “You can’t talk in the abstract about change. Change doesn’t happen just because you wake up and you’re mad. Change happens because you understand the issues, you’re investing, you’re holding people accountable, and you understand what you’re holding them accountable for.”
Obama expressed concerns about people who had decided that the political system made on difference in their lives and had stopped voting.
“They have given up their seats at the table,” she said. “The problem with that is that the game doesn’t stop just because you aren’t sitting at the table. Someone else takes your chair, and then they take three chairs.”
Obama was in Minneapolis for a fundraiser at the Hilton Hotel, where officials said an estimated 500 people raised about $160,000 for her husband’s campaign.