theGrio’s 100: Stefanie Brown, organizing the Obama coalition

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Stefanie Brown (Courtesy BrownGirlsLead.org)

Stefanie Brown (Courtesy BrownGirlsLead.org)

Who is Stefanie Brown?

Stefanie Brown was in charge of organizing black voters to turn out for President Barack Obama‘s re-election in 2012 as the National African-American Vote Director. She is now running Brown Girls Lead, a leadership development organization for black women who are in college that Brown founded in 20111.  The Howard graduate has also served as national outreach co-ordinator for Global Justice, Inc. and the national field director for the NAACP.

The Ohio native and former program co-ordinator for an HIV/AIDS prevention program focusing on at-risk black and Hispanic youth in Cleveland, was named one of Essence.com’s “Top 10 Emerging Political Leaders of 2010” and was among Ebony magazine’s “Top 30 Young Leaders under the Age of 30” in 2007.

Why is she on the Grio’s 100?

“Stefanie has dedicated her life to empowering people of color to organize and advocate for justice and equality in their communities,” said Obama campaign manager Jim Messina.

Brown was instrumental in making sure black turnout for Obama met or even exceeded that of 2008.  This was not a forgone conclusion, as black unemployment surged in Obama’s tenure and many black leaders worried a set of controversial voting laws would keep African-Americans from voting. Instead, exit polls suggested in some places, including the pivotal swing state of Ohio, black turnout may have been even higher than in 2008.  Brown spent the year working with top advisers in Obama’s headquarters in Chicago, but also meeting black leaders and voters all around the country to ensure a high black turnout.

What’s next for Stefanie Brown?

In addition to her work with Brown Girls Lead, Brown will serve as chief executive Vestige Strategies, a D.C.-based public affairs firm that specializes in grassroots community engagement.