Dear President Obama,

It is one year since we stood at the Capitol and watched in sheer delight as you were inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States of America.

In our hearts there was hope, fear, promise and trepidation for the gargantuan task that was laid before you. The people of the U.S. expected that with the strike of a pen and the words off your lips, the direction of a country that has been steered the wrong way for eight years would change.

You have a Herculean task and you must not be swayed by the recent events in Massachusetts. Yes, a Republican won a seat that was held by the Democrats for over 50 years, and yes, it was an upset, but you must not change course.

We need health care; we need changes in education; we need you to be the leader that we elected to right a ship gone astray.

We voted for you because we believe in the change that you can effect. We voted for you because we believe that you have the ability to bring people together for the greater good of this country. We voted for you because we believe that you believe in us. And with that belief in us, we need to believe that together we can still make those changes that you have so fervently fought for.

Health care is just one, but we must continue to fight against all those who want to take away a woman’s right to choose, who believe that same-sex couples do not deserve the right to be married and that the rich should just get richer while hundreds of thousands are bankrupt as their houses are foreclosed upon and the health care system has wiped them out.

And keep in mind the specific needs of our African-American communities: Our young people need jobs and educational opportunities. Too many of our young men remain behind bars, and too many of our people, who feel they have no hope, are self-medicating themselves or have simply given up because they don’t feel there is any real hope for a better future. You have spoken eloquently on these issues, as have some of your cabinet members, like our own native son Eric Holder.

We need your voice and we need your continuing aggressive leadership. There is so much we need to fight for, and as your first year comes to a close, there are those who believe you can do more and do it better. You have done so much, but it pales in comparison to all the wrong that was done the eight years prior to your election. YOU must reconnect with your base, the hardworking people who believed in your dream. The ones that believed that you were speaking to them, heard your call, and said, “YES WE CAN.” You must speak to them, maybe in code, but let them know that you are with us and that you have not forgotten. We understand that there are more than just us out there, but in the end, we just want justice, inclusion and focus.

Let us be clear, we need you, we need you to succeed, but please do not forget about us in that process of success. Just make sure we know you care about us.


Elinor Tatum

Publisher and Editor in Chief

New York Amsterdam News

P.S. Thank you for sending troops and aid to Haiti. They need us now more than ever. The U.S. can be the change that Haiti needs, but we must be mindful we are there to help, not to rule. God bless you. And may you make this world and this country a better place.