President Barack Obama Reunites With Brian Wallach and Sandra Abrevaya at Obama Foundation Event Celebrating No Ordinary Campaign, a Doc About Action Born From Hope Featuring the Two Former Obama Staffers’ Fight to Bring Attention to ALS
Executive Producer Katie Couric and Singer/songwriter Rachel Platten Join in the Festivities in Advance of Film’s SXSW Debut in Austin on Sunday, March 12th
On Sunday, March 12, President Barack Obama reunited with two of his former staffers, Brian Wallach and Sandra Abrevaya, who are the subjects of an award-winning documentary that made its SXSW debut in Austin. No Ordinary Campaign, follows Brian Wallach and Sandra Abrevaya’s fight to bring attention to ALS and their work to build a patient-led revolution which continues to make headlines.
President Obama made the surprise visit at an event hosted by the Obama Foundation at Arlyn Studios, which brought together alumni from the former President’s campaigns and administration. Brian and Sandra applied the organizing skills and connections gained while working on the Obama 2008 campaign and at the White House to grow a movement to find a cure for ALS. At the event, President Obama reflected on how Brian and Sandra, along with the broader alumni community, are taking up the baton and continuing to create lasting change across the country and around the world.
During his remarks in Austin to alumni of the Obama campaigns and White House, President Barack Obama said: “I just want to say how incredibly proud and inspired I am by Brian and Sandra and their entire family and their entire network of friends who have taken an incredibly challenging moment and are driving change.
So often, I think that we think of change as something that comes from on high. And if there was one thing that I was proud of back in ‘07/’08 and if there’s something that I continue to be most proud of now in terms of what our campaign was about, it was the understanding that actually it’s the opposite. Change starts when ordinary people decide they’re doing extraordinary things. I can’t imagine a better set of role models than Brian and Sandra for that proposition.”
He added: “Robert Kennedy once talked about ripples of hope. That the actions of people are like a pebble tossed in a pond and it emanates in the ripples and, and I knew that that was what was going to happen because I’d seen the talent of so many who had done so much. And that’s what Brian and Sandra represent. You’ve heard from them, the concrete accomplishments they’ve already made in combating a cruel disease. And I believe what was said right before I came out here, which is, this is just the start. Because I know them, and I know their determination and their character. And I also know all of you who in one way or another are part of that community of people who believe.
This is what I’m devoting most of my post-presidency to — is to continue to find inspiration and hopefully occasionally give some inspiration to young leaders who are doing amazing work on every issue under the sun, all across the country. And I continue to draw strength and purpose from what I see them do. I hope you do, too.
So, I just wanted to, in front of all of you, let Brian and Sandra know how incredibly proud I am of them and grateful because I continue to draw strength from you. And I think as long as I know that there are folks out here, like the two of you, and so many of you in the audience, that I continue to be hopeful about the country. And I feel hopeful about the world.”
Commenting on the evening, Brian Wallach said: “Tonight we had the privilege to be with President Obama before the screening of ‘No Ordinary Campaign’ at SXSW. We first learned how to turn hope into action on his 2008 campaign. So to hear from him tonight, talking about how we are living out that legacy, was incredible.”
The celebration also featured a performance by singer/songwriter Rachel Platten whose anthemic “Fight Song” is included in the film. Following the event, Wallach, Abrevaya, executive producer Katie Couric (in Austin to introduce the film), Platten and the film’s director and producer Christopher Burke attended the film’s screening (a Texas debut) at the Rollins Theatre followed by a panel discussion moderated by PBS Newshour co-anchor Geoff Bennett.
For more information about the documentary, please visit noordinarycampaign.com.