Virtual Tour: Turn Back the Clock

President Barack Obama: People Appeal for Change

U.S. President Barack Obama Meets with Urban Debate National Tournament Champions

In the 21st century, the threat of nuclear weapons wasn’t in the public eye as much as it had been during the Cold War. People felt more passionately about concerns closer to home: health care, veterans affairs, the local environment. That passion was reflected in the flood of roughly 10,000 letters sent every day to U.S. President Barack Obama during his two terms in office.

President Obama made it a practice to read 10 of those letters every day he was in the White House. Some letters strengthened his resolve to act on issues such as marriage equality or climate change. Other letters the President specifically cited when passing new legislation.

“Our collective future depends on your willingness to uphold your duties as a citizen. To vote. To speak out. To stand up for others, especially the weak, especially the vulnerable, knowing that each of us is only here because somebody, somewhere, stood up for us,” Obama said in 2016.

In 2015, the President’s senior advisor wrote to Josie, a college student in Wisconsin, to tell her that the President had taken steps to protect the Everglades, a cause she had so fiercely defended. He told her, “A lot of folks who write say that they think their letter will never get read. I hope you’ll help let more people learn their voices matter. And encourage your friends to do the same.”

This artifact is featured in our virtual Turn Back the Clock tour. Take the tour to learn more about the history of the Doomsday Clock and discover how you, today, can help “turn back the Clock.” Start here

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