|White House Roundtable hosted in Birmingham|
|Local News Headlines|
|Written by Administrator|
|Thursday, 12 July 2012 11:14|
Deidra Perry, Heather Foster, Lajuana Bradford & Matilda Merriweather
Dr. Lawrence Pijeaux and Heather Foster
Community leaders, elected officials, and young professionals gathered on Friday, July 6, for a Roundtable and Reception with the White House Office of Public Engagement at GaBriella’s Bistro & Art Gallery downtown. The Roundtable was organized by Deidra K. Perry, and featured Heather Foster, who directs African American Outreach at the White House.
The Office of Public Engagement is the open front door to the White House, serving as the embodiment of President Obama’s goal of making government inclusive, transparent, accountable and responsible. It also creates and coordinates opportunities for direct dialogue between the Obama Administration and the American public, while bringing new voices to the table and ensuring that everyone can participate and inform the work of the President.
“This Roundtable invited a select group of dynamic individuals to have dialogue with the White House. From college students to nonprofit executives to corporate leaders, we gathered together to hear updates from Washington and to make sure Washington heard from us,” Perry stated.
The keynote speaker for the Roundtable was Heather Foster, the Associate Director with the White House Office of Public Engagement. Before joining the White House, she served as the Policy and Outreach Advisor at the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the Department of Education. Heather advised faith and community organizations on administration policy and encouraged partnerships with struggling schools across the country.
One Roundtable attendee reported that “Heather gave us meaningful updates on a variety of topics like education and healthcare. I’ve never felt more connected to government than I have to the Obama Administration.” Part of the mission of the Office of Public Engagement is to build the open and transparent government President Barack Obama has promised. Together, side by side with the citizens who have demanded a government that works, this Roundtable is proof that the White House is the people’s house.
Fanicy Hunter, a counselor in training at the University of Montevallo, noted that the Roundtable was extremely informative. “I’m looking forward to putting that information to action,” said Hunter. I was honored to receive an invitation to the Roundtable, and I am thankful they came to the Magic City to meet with us.
Another part of the mission of the Office of Public Engagement is to build the open and transparent government President Barack Obama has promised. Patrick V. Grayson shared that having African-Americans aware of the policy that affects this nation is critical. “My interests are in the field of policy, constituency information delivery and survey/analysis,” he stated. This roundtable focused on important topics.
Roundtable guests included: Attorney Pat Ballard, Dr. Brandi Bolling, Attorney Fred Bolling, Lajuana Bradford of Regions Bank, Judge Brendette Brown-Green, Rep. Merika Coleman, Tammy Fincher, Attorney Karen W. Fox, Terri H. Gardner, James Gettys III of Cox Media Group, Damien Gilbert, Judge Carnella Greene Norman, Toni Green from the Birmingham CVB, L. Waymond Jackson, JJ Johnson, LeDon Jones, Jamika Kirk, Chasseny Lewis from Cong. Terri Sewell’s office, Mahari McTier, Matilda Merriweather, Andre Natta, Dr. Lawrence Pijeaux of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Marquelon Sigler, Jenae’ Steel of Samford University, Chanda Temple, Roy Williams, and Phyllis Wyne. Executive Chef Michael Glenn of Creative Catering by Ambrosia sponsored the reception.
Ms. Perry, Roundtable organizer, commented: “I was pleased to receive the call from Washington, and I hope to expand these opportunities across our state.” Her hope is that this will be one of many chances for Alabamians to hear from and interact with the White House.