Open Letters to President Barack Obama

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Mr. President, 

I would like to thank you for being the first black President.  

I made a big mistake during the primary and voted for Mrs. Clinton. When you won the general vote and became the President, I was glad and proud that history was made.  

If you can, sir, please help this paper and the Pay It Forward Project.  

The paper I write for is a street paper called Street Sense. I know you are great person who wants to help people.  

Please Mr. President, end the war in Iraq and still go after Bin Laden, the jerk who attacked us on 9/11. We need to find him and kill him. He hurt us real, real bad.  


Kenneth Belkosky 

Dear President Obama,  

Back on July 23, 2007, in the “CNN– You Tube Debate” for the 2008 Democratic primary, Pennsylvania citizens Cecilia Smith and Ashanti Wilkins asked the candidates if they would be willing to work for minimum wage if elected President. Nearly all of the candidates, with Senator Christopher Dodd being the only exception, answered in the affirmative. At that time, you responded, “We can afford to work for minimum wage because most folks on this stage have a lot of money. We don’t have Mitt Romney money,” you continued, “but we could afford to do it for a few years.”  

President Obama, the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) asks you to stand by your word and conviction by working for the federal minimum wage during your time in office.  

The current federal minimum wage is $6.55 per hour, a rate insufficient to ensure that working individuals and families can afford decent housing. Meanwhile, the foreclosure crisis continues to increase the number of homeless and precariously–housed Americans, and recent estimates indicate that the unemployment rate will reach over 9% by 2010.  

Historically, you would not be the first American president to turn down his salary. George Washington donated his earnings back to the state, believing that helping the public was payment enough. John F. Kennedy, too, turned down his salary, choosing instead to donate the money to private organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America and the United Negro College Fund.  

The NCH believes that such an act of philanthropy would be consistent with your message of change, and would inspire many other Americans to act selflessly and in the name of the public good. The current economic crisis has highlighted and exacerbated the challenges faced by low–income Americans, and this action would be a fitting expression of solidarity and concern.  

NCH, founded in 1982, is a national network of people who are currently experiencing or who have experienced homelessness, activists, advocates, service providers, and others committed to a single mission: to end homelessness. Toward this end, NCH engages in public education, policy advocacy, and grassroots organizing.  

We ask you take time and careful consideration to this proposed action. It is, we at NCH believe, an unprecedented opportunity for you to establish a new foundation of public good that Americans can build upon. With your help, the nation will be more likely to bring an end to homelessness, reduce the number of Americans living in poverty, and provide health care to the nation’s most vulnerable populations.  

Thank you for your time and thought. We are happy to provide you with further information on the subject as you design your agenda.  


Aaron Gaide,  

NCH Intern, Dartmouth ’11  

Michael Stoops,  

NCH Executive Director 

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