Meaning of Obama presidency discussed at Columbia forum

Thursday, February 19, 2009 | 11:26 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA – What started out as a conversation about a controversial political cartoon published Wednesday in the New York Post grew into an in-depth discussion about President Barack Obama as a leader and role model for young people.

In honor of Black History Month, Columbia residents gathered Thursday night at St. Paul A.M.E. Church for an open discussion panel sponsored by Community Recreation, St. Paul A.M.E. Church and The Frederick Douglass Coalition. About 15 people attended the discussion.

  The five-member speakers panel was quick to express opinions about the leadership qualities they said Obama embodies.

“Obama is a servant leader,” said Tyree Byndom, operations manager of Express Employment Professionals. “You do the duties that people entrust you to do.”

Members of the panel spoke about the need to hold politicians such as Obama accountable in order to make promises from the campaign trail a reality. Some also mentioned a need to keep one another honest.

“We need to hold each other accountable, we aren’t holding anyone in an authoritative position accountable,” Cobbins said.

The group said black children need positive role models said that after Obama's election, kids can look beyond today's celebrities for inspiration.

“Until now, a kid’s role model was 50 Cent. Now, Obama has made it. They are torn between the two,” Khesha Duncan said.   

Panel members also discussed their views on education and how it can best serve black children. Bill Thompson, who led the discussion, said that implementing technology in the classroom would be a step in the right direction. 

The panel slowly disbanded after a closing prayer in which everyone in attendance joined hands to celebrate the panel's diversity.

“We had Christians, Jews, Muslims and all different backgrounds sit and share their points. And we leave with respect for each other,” Byndom said.


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Brett Knight February 20, 2009 | 6:13 p.m.

Can we get a link to this cartoon?

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