Meet a Progressive: Defending Democracy with Rotimi Adeoye
Also with a Raging Chicken podcast interview!
Rotimi Adeoye is a Pennsylvania native and previously worked on Capitol Hill as a Press Secretary to Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus. Prior to that, Rotimi worked as an assistant to Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and a battleground state volunteer on the Obama Campaign in 2012. He graduated from Hobart and William Smith Colleges with a degree in Political Science and is passionate about writing, reading, and Philadelphia sports.
What inspired you to start working for progressive social change?
When I was in high school I was approached by a family friend about getting involved in the Obama 2012 Presidential race in Bucks County. I wasn’t really sure what I was getting myself into – but the work the campaign was doing in Pennsylvania opened my eyes to the power of community organizing. I appreciated the way people listened when I talked about the candidate and issues facing Bucks County. I also was touched by the personal stories I heard from voters on the campaign trail.
From there, I ended up running voter registration drives in college and working in Congress as a Staff Assistant to Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), and Press Secretary to Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05). Now I work as a Communications Strategist for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on voting rights and Democracy issues.
What do you identify as the top issue’s progressives must confront nationally and globally?
I believe the top issues progressives must confront are the climate crisis, safeguarding our democracy, and protecting the rights of American workers.
Climate change poses a real and urgent threat to our economy, our national security, and our collective health and futures, we must do all we can to protect the environment. At the same time, this past year we’ve seen innumerable attacks on the right to vote coming out of state legislatures across the country. We’ve also seen big corporations like Amazon and Walmart attempt to step on the little guy and stop their workers from joining a union. I believe that when workers are strong—America is strong—our leaders must make it easier for workers, public and private to unionize.
Additionally, countless Pennsylvanians are working harder than ever, but their wages have not kept up with rising costs. Raising the minimum wage will put more money immediately back in the pockets of workers, help support small businesses, and boost our economy.
What types of organizing and projects are you working on right now?
I recently started a new position at the ACLU. I’m ecstatic to work for an organization that fights for the civil liberties of all Americans. I’m a communications strategist with a focus on voting rights and Democracy.
The right to vote has been an issue I’ve been passionate about since organizing voter registration drives at my alma mater. I’m excited to be working on an issue area that is especially salient in our country right now. More than ever before, it’s important all Americans have unfettered access to the ballot box.
I’m also working on a few memoir and personal essays I’m hoping to share in the future.
How can folks get engaged and involved?
I would encourage everyone to start in their own community. If you find a candidate or organization that you support, volunteer and/or contribute.
If you just spend a small amount of time every week contributing to a cause bigger than yourself, it will have a ripple effect and impact the community. We can all do something to create the change we want to see.
Which journalists, writers, podcasts, and publications do you turn to for information and inspiration?
I enjoy reading the daily newspaper, whether it’s the NY Times and Washington Post or more local papers such as the Philadelphia Inquirer or Bucks County Courier Times. I also believe having more conversations with people in our communities who disagree with us and listening to their perspectives is important. If we want to address the multiple crises I mentioned earlier, we need to make sure we convince people to join our efforts, and win. Politics isn’t just about having a good idea. It’s also about winning, persuasion—and holding—power.