In his second Inaugural Address, President Obama declared a progressive mandate, calling for action on climate change, marriage equality and immigration reform. On Feb. 12, youth leaders head to Washington, D.C. to set the tone for the president’s State of the Union address. #BarackTalk, an interactive State of the Union watch party and online discussion, will broadcast live on Ustream from the heart of the nation’s capital, at the legendary cultural space, Busboys and Poets.
“Millions of Americans will watch online as President Obama delivers his fourth State of the Union Address,” Biko Baker, Executive Director of the League of Young Voters, said. “We’re harnessing cutting-edge streaming technology to let people nationwide talk back in real time.”
With Congress’ public approval ratings at an all-time low, the State of the Union will play an important role in establishing the agenda for the second term of the Obama administration. #BarackTalk is an opportunity for America’s young voters and seasoned activists to come together around their vision for change, critiquing Obama’s address and forming new connections to advance a policy agenda in 2013.
In 2012, more than 33,000 viewers tuned in to #BarackTalk and the event featured Tweets from notable figures such as Goldie Taylor from MSNBC, Snoop Dogg and Rhymefest. The rise of the League of Young Voters’ online programming network, YoungVoterLive.com, was formalized with an official partnership with Ustream.TV, the premiere live broadcasting platform.
“Ustream is proud of our partnership with the League of Young Voters, which is doing incredible work to engage young people in politics,” Tomoko Hosaka, News and Politics Manager at UStream, said. “Our technology empowers anyone, anywhere to broadcast to the world. We’re excited to see the League embrace Ustream as a key tool in its mission. Its creativity and passion on the platform will undoubtedly serve as a model for other groups looking to harness the power of live video.”
Community organizations and national non-profits are uniting to produce #BarackTalk, an open forum for youth activists and citizens to address the most important political topics of 2013. Sierra Student Coalition and Energy Action Coalition will host a panel on climate change, which the Obama Administration has signaled will be a central component of the address.
“Young people will be watching the State of The Union to see if President Obama fulfills his promise to address one of our generation’s greatest challenges, the global climate crisis,” Maura Cowley, Executive Director of Energy Action Coalition said. “President Obama must follow up on his inaugural address with concrete action plans to address climate change, starting with rejecting the dangerous Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.”
Additionally, Sierra Club President Michael Brune and Hip Hop Caucus’ Reverend Yearwood will join Goldie Taylor and other leading pundits to host a series of discussions on gun violence, voter suppression and youth entrepreneurship. These panels will feature leaders from a diverse array of youth organizations, including Voto Latino and Rock the Vote.
“After 2008, there was a widespread sense that the communication between the Obama White House and the youth movement who had been so instrumental in his election just died,” says Biko Baker, Executive Director of the League of Young Voters. “We can’t let that happen in 2013.”About The League of Young Voters Education Fund: The League empowers young people nationwide to participate in the democratic process and create progressive political change on the local, state and national level – with a focus on non-college youth and youth from low-income communities and communities of color. The League meets young people where they are, works on issues that affect their lives, and provides them with tools, training, and support to become serious catalysts for change. Visit them at YoungVoter.org.