- Posted byon December 7, 2012 at 4:59 PM EDT
Losing a loved one is never an easy situation and something that happens to all of us at one point. This week we highlight Christina Rasmussen, a woman that lost her husband of ten years after a battle with cancer who is now working to help others cope with loss. In this edition of Women Working to Do Good, the author writes:
The main thing Christina wants people to know is that “when a life interruption occurs, you shouldn’t try to go back to the life you had before. It doesn’t work out. That’s why you need to allow change in as early as possible and you have to plug yourself into your new life in increments.”
Christina’s work has helped countless individuals begin the healing process after losing a loved one. During this holiday season, let’s all cherish the time we have with our friends and family.
Ronnie Cho is Associate Director of the Office of Public Engagement
- Posted byon December 4, 2012 at 12:53 PM EDT
On December 5, 2012, President Obama will host representatives invited from each of the 566 federally recognized American Indian tribes, and Alaska Native Villages, at the 2012 White House Tribal Nations Conference. Fulfilling a commitment to improve and expand dialog with Indian Country, the President has hosted a Tribal Nations Conference in each year of his Presidency to facilitate a lasting discussion between Tribal Leaders and Senior Administration Officials. The opening and closing sessions of the Conference will be available for live online viewing at www.WhiteHouse.gov/Live and also at www.DOI.gov/Live. The expected agenda is as follows:
Opening Session, 9:00am – 10:30am EST
Secretary Ken Salazar, Department of the Interior
Secretary Arne Duncan, Department of Education
Deputy Secretary Neal Wolin, Department of the Treasury
Acting Secretary Rebecca Blank, Department of Commerce
Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Department of Health and Human Services
Secretary Tom Vilsack, Department of Agriculture
Closing Session, 1:30pm – 3:30pm EST
Leaders of Each Tribal Leaders Breakout Session
Secretary Ray LaHood, Department of Transportation
Secretary Hilda Solis, Department of Labor
President Barack Obama
The White House Tribal Nations Conference is the cornerstone of the Administration’s outreach and engagement with tribal governments and the dialogue and lessons learned will help shape federal policy in the weeks, months and years to come. We would like to sincerely thank all tribal leaders who will be taking part in the White House Tribal Nations Conference and we look forward to our continued collaboration and dialogue.
- Posted byon November 29, 2012 at 11:15 AM EDT
On December 5, 2012, the White House will host representatives invited from each federally recognized tribe at the 2012 White House Tribal Nations Conference in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, December 5, 2012, from 9:00am to 3:30pm. The Conference will be held at the Department of the Interior’s Sidney R. Yates Auditorium. For more details, please see the below frequently asked questions.
Each federally recognized tribe is invited to designate one representative to attend the Conference. If you have not already done so, please register by 10 p.m. EST on Thursday, November 29, 2012 at http://www.whitehouse.gov//webform/2012-tribal-nations-conference. Following the registration deadline, you will receive a confirmation and further instructions.
We hope to see you at the 2012 White House Tribal Nations Conference.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Where will the 2012 Tribal Nations Conference be held?
A: The Conference will be held at the Department of the Interior, with the opening session in the Sidney R. Yates Auditorium and breakout sessions in ancillary meeting rooms.
Q: Why isn’t the conference being held at the White House?
A: We are inviting all 566 federally recognized tribes to send a representative to the Conference, and we needed a location that would ensure we had enough space. The Department of the Interior has graciously offered its main auditorium to use for this important event.
Q: Will the President speak at the conference? Will he interact with the tribal leaders?
A: The President is expected to deliver remarks.
Q: Can Tribal Organizations send a representative to the conference?
A: The purpose of the conference is to further strengthen the government to government relationship between federally recognized tribes and the Obama Administration. Unfortunately, we are unable to accommodate organizations at the event.
Q: Can I bring more than one representative?
A: Regretfully, due to space constraints we can only accommodate one representative from each tribe.
Q: Our tribal chairman cannot attend; may we send another elected representative from our tribe?
A. Yes, however only one person per tribe may participate in the Tribal Nations Conference. Tribal leaders who cannot attend any of the events must approve another member of the tribe to represent the tribe on the tribal leader’s behalf. Any requests for exceptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Q: Does the White House provide for travel or accommodations?
A: No. The White House is unable provide travel or hotel accommodations.
Q: Is there a host or preferred hotel?
A: No, but local tribal organizations may be able to assist with lodging recommendations.
Q: Can I get a White House tour?
A: If you are interested in a White House tour, please write us at IndianCountry@who.eop.govwith your preferred dates for a tour. Please keep in mind that space is limited and we may not be able to accommodate all requests.
Q: Can I register via phone?
A: No, please register here or send a fax to (202) 456-1647 with the name, title, tribe phone number and e-mail address of your tribe’s representative, confirmation will be made by email.
Q: I am a member of the press, can I cover the conference?
A: Please call Shin Inouye at (202) 456-6238 or email Media_affairs@who.eop.gov.
Q: May our tribal delegation meet separately with the President while we are there?
A: Regretfully, due to the volume of inquiries and the time constraints of the President’s schedule, we are unable to consider any meeting requests with the President.
Q: May our tribe present the President with a gift?
A: We understand some tribal leaders may be interested in bringing a gift for the President. We appreciate the generosity, but gifts are not expected nor encouraged. For those who do bring gifts, they will have to be submitted on site through the White House Gift Office. Please note that a gift registration form will need to be completed for each gift before entering the conference venue and gifts will not be accepted without a form attached. The gift registration forms will be provided to you in the morning. Due to security restrictions, gifts will not be permitted in the auditorium, and must be presented to the White House Gift Office staff prior to entering the building. There will not be an opportunity to present gifts directly to the President. If you are planning to bring a gift, please allow for extra time for this process prior to entering the conference.
For any additional questions, please contact us at IndianCountry@who.eop.gov
- Posted byon November 20, 2012 at 4:52 PM EDT
Earlier today, a group of transgender community advocates met with White House staff to mark Transgender Day of Remembrance and discuss ways in which we can work together to ensure dignity, equality, and justice for all people.
Throughout America and around the world, many transgender people face bullying, harassment, discrimination, and violence. Far too often, we hear shocking and tragic stories about transgender people who have been assaulted and even killed because of their gender identity or expression. The Obama Administration is committed to preventing violence against all people, including all members of the LGBT community, and this meeting was an important opportunity to explore ways to make our communities and neighborhoods safer.
At the meeting, community leaders highlighted a range of issues and concerns of importance to transgender people. In the months and years ahead, we look forward to working to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all transgender people.
As we mark Transgender Day of Remembrance and reflect upon the lives that have been lost to violence and injustice, let us all recommit ourselves to ensuring dignity, equality, and justice for all people.
Gautam Raghavan is an Associate Director in the Office of Public Engagement.
- Posted byon November 20, 2012 at 12:42 PM EDT
For the Win is a guest blog series featuring the remarkable initiatives that young Americans are advancing to win the future for their communities. Each week we highlight a new young person and learn about their inspiring work through their own words.
Maryam Farooq, 14, was honored as a 2012 Hasbro Community Action Hero, an award recognizing outstanding young service leaders presented by Hasbro in partnership with generationOn, the global youth service enterprise of Points of Light.
My name is Maryam Farooq and I am an eighth grade student at Middle School 172 in New York. I work with a group called No Place for Hate, which is sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). This program is 100 percent free and brings attention to the dangers of bullying and creates a more respectful atmosphere at school. Our goal is to make sure students are not afraid to come to school because of bullying and bring positive change.
I brought this program into my school because bullying wasn’t a topic that was discussed.Though that does not mean it didn’t exist. I decided to take action. I first started by getting a guidance counselor to supervise, then we worked together to create a committee of 12 eight grade students. As a committee, we meet at least once a week at our lunch period to discuss issues and create activities.
- Posted byon October 19, 2012 at 10:35 AM EDT
Spirit Day -- the celebration to honor and support young people who have been victims of bullying -- is now three years old.
It has become a day when people the world over rally for LGBT community and speak out against the bullying of LGBT teens.
And this year, the White House is once again going purple online. You can check out our Twitter feed or our Facebook page to see how we're marking the day -- and take part by making your social networking icon purple or adding a statement of support.
To learn more about what you can do to support kids and stop bullying, check out stopbullying.gov/.
- Posted byon October 15, 2012 at 9:58 AM EDT
Jay Nath is being honored as a Champion of Change for his efforts in local innovation.
I have the distinct pleasure of serving as Chief Innovation Officer for San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee—a leader who exhibits the unique combination of foresight and creativity and to whom I owe the honor of being named a Champion of Change: Local Innovator by the White House. Upon establishing one of the Nation’s first Chief Innovation Officer positions, Mayor Lee took an important step forward. He recognized the power and potential of innovation to solve social and civic challenges and to make government a more open, responsive, and efficient enterprise.
As CIO, I direct the Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation, and am tasked with tackling some of the most historically persistent and intractable problems faced by the City of San Francisco. At the Mayor’s office, we are fully aware that these massive challenges can only be addressed with participation of our citizens and help from our partners across the public, private and nonprofit sectors. That’s why we focus on creating a culture of sharing, collaboration, and co-creation and work closely with partners to change the way government serves its constituents.
Harnessing lessons learned from my time in the private sector, I take an agile approach to public administration—one that involves working to disrupt the status quo and transform government for the 21st Century. I focus on creating as much value as possible, in the shortest amount of time, with little or no capital cost. I work to connect government with the incredible network of change-agents, hackers, students, entrepreneurs, and countless other individuals who make San Francisco the Innovation Capital of the World. I constantly seek new opportunities to engage the community and new technologies that can harness the problem-solving prowess and entrepreneurial ethos of our City. Here are just a few examples:
In 2009, inspired by the White House’s Data.gov initiative, I piloted an Open Data policy here in San Francisco—making us one of the first cities in the Nation to make all non-confidential government datasets publicly available. Largely because we used open source technologies, we were able to take this concept from idea to deployment in just three months. Since its launch, DataSF.org has attracted a vibrant community of developers who have created over 100 applications in categories such as public safety, transportation, data visualization, and environmental protection. Open Data helps to illuminate the landscape for local decision-makers and provides a standard by which information can be shared.
In April 2012, we launched ImproveSF.com, a crowd-sourcing platform that empowers San Franciscans to generate and implement their own solutions to citywide problems. Over 3,000 interactions have taken place thus far and the platform has been used to address local issues such as Transit Efficiency, Food Justice and Neighborhood Revitalization. The latest ImproveSF challenge called for ideas to improve access to healthy food for residents in the blighted Central Market neighborhood. Over 100 ideas were submitted and more than 500 comments made. Through this platform, we’ve seen first-hand the impact of opening civic challenges to a community of local problem solvers.
More recently we’ve taken the community-problem solving approach one step further by holding hackathons that bring designers and developers together to create apps that solve specific civic challenges. We then work to move the apps from hackathon-to-market by partnering with government agencies to pilot demonstration projects. The San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency is currently piloting an app that allows operators to gather real-time data and improve operations.
Hackathons can help government solve a variety of operational challenges, while also planting seeds for new start-ups that strengthen our local economy by creating jobs. The City continues to work towards ensuring that ideas born at hackathons have the necessary assets and networks to scale-up to their full potential.
Innovation Month in San Francisco
With so much happening in our office and throughout our City, we are taking the month of October to highlight the impact that innovation has had on our public and private sectors. Mayor Ed Lee has declared October as Innovation Month in San Francisco to celebrate the individuals and institutions that are creating game-changing solutions to the wide variety of challenges we face.
With the leadership of a supportive Mayor and by collaborating with partners such as Code for America, SF.CITI, and many others, we have seen the power of innovation to open the doors of government to citizens, to manage customer service, to improve efficiency, and to ultimately drive better public services. Many of the activities described have been conducted at little or no cost, yet have generated tremendous value—quantitatively and qualitatively— for the public good.
Finally, we have learned first-hand that people are willing to work collaboratively with their government to address long-standing societal challenges. We will continue to engage with the creative and entrepreneurial people of our City to make our government better, smarter, and more efficient.
Jay Nath is Chief Innovation Officer for the City of San Francisco.
- Posted byon October 11, 2012 at 5:41 PM EDT
Bill Jimmerson is being honored as a Champion of Change for his efforts in 4-H and Future Farmers of America.
I have always enjoyed working hard and being passionate about the things I care about. It is hard for me to believe that a shy country boy who grew up on a family farm in central Montana is heading to Washington, D.C. to receive an award as a Champion of Change! After all, I attended a one-room elementary school and did not even have a classmate until I went to high school. The most important decision my family made at that time was to send me to the high school which had a respected National FFA Organization. That single decision set me on my way to the career that has brought me to the White House.
After deciding as a junior in high school to follow in the footsteps of my FFA advisor, Mr. Jim Schultz, I was on my way. Mr. Schultz always emphasized that community service is “the rent you pay for living on this planet” which I have incorporated into every aspect of my life. My high school FFA members were always involved in some sort of activity to improve the community. From building bleachers, benches, a gazebo for an elementary school, and a shelter at the local golf club my students were learning the importance of providing a helping hand to make their community a better place to live.
The National FFA started a program called Project PALS (Partners in Active Learning Support) many years ago and I encouraged my local FFA chapter to get involved in this, which they did. High school FFA members are paired with designated elementary students to help those youngsters with their self-esteem and help them learn. This program continues today and is the most honorable community service program in which I involved my students.
On my very first trip with my new State FFA officers in 2005, we stopped at an elementary school on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation to ask for directions to the high school. The principal, a Native American dressed in a suit and tie, was out front so I pulled up beside him and told my young FFA state officer to ask him directions to the high school. He was reluctant to do so. That got me thinking. With 5 FFA chapters located on Indian reservations in Montana, why not start a program to get Native American FFA members more involved so all FFA members can respect each other more and eliminate the bias that exists? Therefore, the FFA/American Indian program exists in Montana. I designed it so any chapter can put together a program about their culture and customs, bring it to the state FFA convention, and be judged with the winner getting the opportunity to take their program to the National FFA Convention. A year ago the National FFA honored Native American culture at their convention and allowed me to help with the planning of that event. Through my Montana program, I was very honored to get to know a former member of the Browning FFA chapter and the current Chief of the Blackfeet Nation, Earl Old Person, who honored me with my own Indian name, “Morning Eagle.” I arranged for him to attend the National Convention and speak on behalf of all Native American FFA members. I am proud that this program has helped a few more young people find a positive avenue for their life.
As an honoree of the Champion of Change, I can personally attest that this is one of my highest honors ever, and I encourage others to always be passionate about their community values and understand that this is what makes America the greatest country on the planet!
Bill Jimmerson is a retired educator who served for 32 years as an Agricultural Education teacher and FFA Advisor in Montana.