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What’s the Jamestown Project? Plus: Finding your “inner Obama”

By Michelle Malkin  •  September 24, 2009 03:37 PM

Charisse Carney-Nunes, who originally posted the Burlington Township (NJ) elementary school Obama chant video, has not responded to requests for comment — though someone did remove the video from her account this morning, as I mentioned earlier today. I linked to her bio at the Jamestown Project, where she is Senior Vice President of Programs. (FYI: In this interview, she says she has accepted a job with the Obama administration’s Transportation Department.)

What’s the Jamestown Project? From its “About Us” section:

The Jamestown Project is a diverse action-oriented think tank of new leaders who reach across boundaries and generations to make democracy real. Founded and operated primarily by people of color and women, The Jamestown Project consists of scholars, activists, and communities who use five broad strategies to achieve our mission: generating new ideas; promoting meaningful public conversations and engagement; cultivating new leaders; formulating political strategy and public policy; and using cutting-edge communications techniques that reach a broad public.

From its curriculum guide for 3rd-5th graders:

Children Do Democracy Too is an outgrowth of our Doing Democracy work. The purpose of the initiative is to equip children with the knowledge and tools necessary to meaningfully participate in civil society and democracy. The central question we seek to answer is, “How do we instill the values of citizenship and active participation into the youngest, and in many ways the most important, members of our democracy?”

The Jamestown Project released A Children’s Curriculum for Civic Engagement in the Fall of 2008 as part of this initiative. The curriculum is based on our book I DREAM FOR YOU A WORLD: A COVENANT FOR OUR CHILDREN.

The Curriculum adapts the concepts from the book into lessons and activities to promote civic engagement to elementary aged children. Grades 3 – 5 are the optimal age for children to not only understand their place in the world, but also a time to begin to comprehend their power and potential to make a difference in their own lives, their family, their communities, and their country.

We are currently piloting the curriculum and seeking new partners to help us evaluate the program, share learning, and to strategize about achieving future goals.

Question: How many other public schools have “instilled the values of citizenship and active participation into the youngest” through Jamestown Project Senior VP Carney-Nunes’ Obama-chanting rituals?

Here’s at least one other school in Salem, NJ at which Carney-Nunes proselytized — even urging one student to keep looking for “that inner Obama:”

From the hard wooden chairs of the Salem Middle School auditorium, children shouted gleefully “I am Barack Obama!” here Tuesday, prompted by the renowned author who penned a book of the same name.

Charisse Carney-Nunes, a former classmate of the president’s at Harvard Law School, spent her birthday reading some of her collection to the third-grade class, the colorful pages emblazoned on a big-screen projector above her.

Her stories are of a hope that often finds confinement within the poverty-stricken city.

“The most important thing I think, and the reason the book is called I Am Barack Obama, is because I like when children say I am Barack Obama,” Carney-Nunes said. “They understand that there is a little bit of Barack Obama in all of us.”

Her latest endeavor captures the journey of Obama from childhood to the White House steps, offering that the power to change the world lies with all of us…It was the endless series of questions about Obama that Carney-Nunes received during school book tours last year that led to her latest venture, she pointed out.

“They just wanted to talk about Barack Obama,” she said. “I decided you know what, it would be easiest if I just wrote a book.

At the end of the program, each child received a copy of Carney-Nunes publication. At least one was signed with a message to keep looking for that inner-Obama.


Fun fact: Carney-Nunes’ Jamestown Project colleague Bakari Kitwana defended radical former green jobs czar Van Jones on FNC earlier this month:

At the Huffington Post, Kitwana smeared parents and conservative commentators who objected to the White House junior lobbyists-in-the-schools effort earlier this month as — you guessed it — RAAAAACISTS.


Here’s a Jamestown Project overview reel:

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