There's A Thanks, Obama Event, But If You Can't Go, Here's What You Can Do
Barack Obama has spent the last eight years as president and commander-in-chief of the United States, but this next month will be his last. Inauguration Day on Jan. 20 will mark the exit of America's first black president, and whether you like him or not, the end of an era as well. Obama wasn't a perfect president (and let's face it, none of us would be), but his achievements during his time in office are undeniable. So Americans are saying "Thanks, Obama." From passing healthcare reform to repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the president is leaving office with a long list of accomplishments under his belt. And as YG said in his 2016 hit "Fuck Donald Trump," this latest election has many Americans appreciating Obama more than ever.
With that in mind, some are looking to give the 44th president a send-off that shows their appreciation for him. Spelman College graduates Bejide Davis and Amanda Washington Lockett have taken thanking Obama into their own hands by planning a "Thanks Obama" celebration in Washington, D.C. on Jan 19. The event will consist of gathering in the nation's capital to applaud the president on his last day at work, according to the event's Facebook page. And though it has yet to secure an adequate venue, "Thanks, Obama" already has over 44,000 RSVPs.
But what about those of us who want to show our appreciation, but can't make it to D.C.? Here are just a few ways to show Obama and his team your gratitude.
Send A Note
Obama's current address is a famous one. So if snail mail is your thing, there's still time to send him and his team a letter of thanks before their move-out day. If you prefer a slightly more immediate means of communication, the White House makes it simple. Their contact page has an easy-to-use form which you can use to send a message to Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and even (swoon) First Lady Michelle Obama.
Obviously, they are all busy, in-demand people, so don't expect a personalized email in response. But apparently, Obama reads 10 letters from the public every day, so you have nothing to lose by throwing your paper or digital thank-you note into the mix.
Send A Tweet
The only thing faster than sending an email to the president is sending him a tweet. You can tweet at his official account, @POTUS, or his personal one, @BarackObama. There's no telling whether Obama is more or less likely to see your note of gratitude amongst his mentions than in his inbox. However, tweeting your thanks is a great way to not only send him a shout-out but also show others why you are grateful for his service.
Sure, "Thanks, Obama" has been used as a sarcastic joke ever since he first took office, but sincerity always shines through. And who knows, maybe he'll hit you back with a heart or the ever-coveted follow-back from his personal account.
Make A Donation In His Name
WhiteHouse.gov has a special section all about all the steps you should take if you want to send the president a gift. But above all of those instructions is an encouragement from the First Family to make contributions to your favorite charities instead. It's a great idea for those who are able, and if you make the gift in Obama's name, the organization will probably send a note to let him know.
Not sure where's the best place to give? A good one to start with is the Barack Obama Foundation, which is currently collecting donations to build the Obama Presidential Center. But if that mission doesn't speak to you, check out the list of organizations the Obamas donated to in 2015. But truly, no matter where you give, you'll be showing your appreciation while helping others. What's better than that?
Keep His Legacy Alive
If you're bursting with gratitude for Obama, one of the best things you can do is keep his legacy alive through public service of your own. Take action on social issues that are important to you and become involved locally, whether through volunteering or activism. Before he was a politician, Obama was a community organizer.
And what better way to honor him than to follow in his footsteps by exploring your own ways of fulfilling your civic duty? Doing so will not only enrich your life, but will show you other, lesser-known heroes closer to home who are working to make your community better for all.