Gary & Juliellen’s Story

“Like Father, Like Daughter”

On a beautiful October Saturday in rural Chatham County, NC at “Del’s Obama-Que” fund-raiser, I discovered Rachel and Rob. While many a homemade cake was raffled off to raise money for the Obama campaign, they became the “icing on the cake” for me. Their “We Are The Ones Project” proved to be the most delightful and inspiring surprise of the day. Stories of their adventures in quest of people’s portraits and testimonials for Barack touched the core values that fuel my hope for a better future. “We Are The Ones Project” became for me the embodiment of a hope-filled community building process that is vital if together “We” are to bring about the sweeping change upon which Barack Obama’s campaign is built.

My only regret was that my daughter, Juliellen, wasn’t with me that afternoon to share those informative and inspirational moments. Juliellen grew up as a “PK” (Preacher’s Kid) forced to listen to sermons Sunday after Sunday about grace and gratitude; blessings and responsibilities; stewardship of economy and environment, and of doing justice, loving kindness and walking humbly with her creator. She observed her father organize the people and material resources of the community to serve children, elderly and underprivileged neighbors. Such a discipline could have turned her off. But to my delight during this campaign journey I find a woman who is tuned in and turned on by a leader who espouses the diet of core values on which she was fed.

Having heard from me during her formative years the stories of heroes of my generation, she now inspires me with her words and deeds in support of a new visionary leader who has touched her heart and soul in a way that fills me with joy and gratitude. Like father, like daughter. I see myself in her now as I watch and listen to her during this historic campaign. In so many respects, her story is my story. It is an inspiring story of a new generation of hope-filled “can-doers” with a will to, against all odds, turn the mighty “ship of state” onto a new course with a new cargo of just values in its hold and a full crew of diverse hands on deck to guide it forward.

The sensitivity, passion, intellect and eloquence that she admires in Barack Obama is displayed in a letter that she has sent out far and wide to women friends and acquaintances. I couldn’t have said it better myself, and so I share portions of it now as a motivation to others:

“Hi all,

I am writing this note because I am compelled. In years past I have voted in elections and supported particular candidates, but I have never felt as compelled as I do this year to actively support and volunteer for a presidential candidate. I have been an Obama supporter since the beginning of his campaign. In fact, I’ve been inspired by Barack Obama since the moment I heard him speak at the democratic convention in 2004. I even had a dream, the day after John Kerry lost the 2004 election. I was lost in a long hallway, feeling certain I would not find my way out. Barack Obama stepped out of one of the office doors in the hallway, wrapped his arms around me and told me that everything was going to be okay. I woke up feeling comforted and relieved and with hope in my heart…

From those early moments I have felt this man has the ability to connect to the core of what people are feeling, to what we need. I think he connects with the place inside all of us that knows that no matter how much we’d like an easy fix for problems that it takes, more often than not, a lot of guts, a lot of time and effort, a core set of values and confidence, passion and the ability to work collaboratively and compassionately…

For me, what is unique about our chance to vote for Barack Obama is this, I BELIEVE in Barack Obama. I believe in his authenticity and his ability to make changes to the way politics has been played for years on end. He speaks to a place in my soul that has wanted to believe that things could be different. He reaches that place of optimism and togetherness that I felt when I was in college or when I heard my parents speak of John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy or Martin Luther King, Jr. Barack Obama helps me see how individuals, working within their community for the common good, can make a lasting and positive change for our present and future. I also realize none of this will be easy, but that I now, for the first time, believe that it can be done…

I was compelled to write so that I can feel like I’ve done some small part to speak up for a man I believe can speak for our nation. It is my attempt to feel like I may be doing something to possibly persuade you to vote for Barack Obama and to feel like I’m a part of the vehicle for change.

In hope and with gratitude,
Juliellen (Simpson-Vos) “

Gary Simpson
Pittsboro, NC

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