San Francisco (Obama.net)- Shirley Sherrod is a woman who has only wanted one thing. And that was the chance to speak one on one with the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama. And on Thursday, the former member of the United States Department of Agriculture got just that via a telephone conversation with the President.
Sherrod was forced to resign from the Department of Agriculture following the posting of a video depicting Sherrod claiming she would not assist a white farmer. However, the video was not in its full length and was from years ago before she worked for the government. In addition, the white farmer spoken about in the video posted on the internet came out after the controversy rose and told reporters that Sherrod actually helped him keep his farm at a time when he was dangerously close to losing it.
The full speech by Sherrod made the point that race should have nothing to do with who gets help, but it was edited to make it look as though she was making racist comments.
On Monday, Sherrod was pushed out of her office, but the complete story came out on Tuesday. This was followed by a Wednesday apology by Tom Vilsack, the Agriculture Secretary, who then proceeded to offer her a new role within the Department of Agriculture.
After her conversation with President Obama, Sherrod told the media that he did not speak about the video or the contents of it, but instead assured her that it was a mistake and that Secretary Vilsack had been “truly sincere” in his aims to make sure that the Department of Agriculture had nothing association with discrimination.
Of Vilsack’s actions, President Obama said, “He jumped the gun, partly because we now live in this culture where something goes up on YouTube or a blog and everybody scrambles. I’ve told my team and I told my agencies that we have to make sure that we’re focusing on doing the right thing instead of what looks to be politically necessary at that very moment. We have to take our time and think these issues through.” Obama went on to make a deeper point that “rather than us jumping to conclusions and pointing fingers at each other, we should all look inward and try to examine what’s in our own hearts and as a consequence I think we will continue to make progress.”
Sherrod told the media that she was very pleased with her conversation with the President of the United States of America. She said that his sincerity and compassion for her was appreciated and respected.
According to Robert Gibbs, the Press Secretary of the White House, President Obama did not press for Shirley Sherrod to get a new job at the United States Department of Agriculture and that the offer was completely Vilsack’s idea and decision.
However, Obama was aware of the offer by Vilsack. In a released statement for the media about his conversation with Sherrod, Obama was said to have said, “that this misfortune can present an opportunity for her to continue her hard work on behalf of those in need, and he hopes that she will do so.”
As a racial issue arose in the United States Government, President Barack Obama made it a point to make sure that the issue would be addressed by him personally. And after speaking with all of the parties involved in the unfortunate situation, Obama was able to help bring peace to the matter and make sure that both sides understood the other. And as a result of Obama’s work, Vilsack stepped up and took responsibility for his unwarranted action and Sherrod was presented with an opportunity for a new job within the United States Department of Agriculture.