- Fall 2016
“In this Obama era of politics, we are at a critical crossroads of the necessity of a race and gender coalition for success in critical elections. As a former aide to President Obama and current Assemblymember in my hometown of The Bronx, NY, I hope people emerge from our study group entitled, "The Untold story of the Obama era" reflecting about the economic, business and political case for diversity in politics and how they can actively be a part of changing the face and tone of their political structures.”
Michael A. Blake is the Assembly member of the 79th District in The Bronx, New York. He is passionate about urban entrepreneurship, Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs), education, community learning, building sustainable communities, equality for all and empowering young men of color. Blake was born and raised in The Bronx, New York to Jamaican immigrants.
In early 2007, Michael joined then Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign and served as the Iowa deputy political director and constituency outreach director for the successful Iowa caucuses. After serving as the Michigan deputy state director for the general election, Blake joined the White House staff as the associate director of public engagement and deputy associate director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. He created the White House Urban Entrepreneurship Summit series, which sought to foster public, private and not-for-profit partnerships and provide strategic advice in seven cities across the nation. Blake left the White House to serve as the national deputy director of Operation Vote for President Obama’s 2012 re-election and helped expand the diverse electorate that later re-elected the president, leading to historic turnout among constituencies nationwide.
Blake was honored as one of “The Root 100” in 2012, featured in Jet magazine as one of 15 black politicos behind President Obama’s re-election and recognized by MSNBC in 2011 as one of the Top 10 Black politicians on the rise. Blake has been preaching for the last 21 years as an exhorter in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and a Certified Lay Speaker in the United Methodist Church.