The South Asian Arts and Culture Council Series in partnership with the Boston Public Library presents: West Wingers. Editor Gautam Raghavan will appear together with contributors, Rumana Ahmed and Aneesh Raman.
From the triumphs of Obamacare and marriage equality to the tragedy of the Charleston shooting, West Wingers tells the story of the Obama presidency through the men and women who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to support his vision for America. More than just a history, it is an inspiring call to arms for public service, a manifesto for the power of committed public servants to make real change, and a powerful testament to what true diversity, inclusivity, and progress can look like in America.
West Wingers features the stories of women, people of color, immigrants, LGBT individuals, people with disabilities, and veterans, celebrating the diversity of the Obama White House. A married gay staffer pushes the president towards marriage equality; a senior aide works to implement the Affordable Care Act while battling Stage IV cancer; a hijabi Muslim adviser accompanies the President to a mosque. Americans saw these stories play out in public, but these are the personal stories behind them, including how staffers convinced Obama to appear on Funny or Die’s “Between Two Ferns” to help save Obamacare.
Rumana Ahmed first joined the White House as an intern in the Office of Presidential Correspondence, where she later became a full-time staffer. She next served as liaison to Muslim American communities in the Office of Public Engagement, and then as a senior advisor on the National Security Council.
Gautam Raghavan served as President Barack Obama’s liaison to the LGBTQ community as well as the Asian American and Pacific Islander community from 2011 to 2014. Earlier in the Obama administration, he worked for the U.S. Department of Defense and served on the Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” working group. Earlier in his political career, Raghavan worked for Progressive Majority, the Democratic National Committee, and the 2008 Obama campaign.
Aneesh Raman was a speechwriter for President Obama from 2011 to 2013, following a year at the Pentagon and two years as speechwriter to Treasury secretary Tim Geithner amidst a historic financial crisis. From 2004 to 2008 he was a foreign correspondent for CNN, first based out of Southeast Asia and later the Middle East, where he spent a year as the network’s Baghdad correspondent during the Iraq War.
Certain books were “banned in Boston” at least as far back as 1651, when one William Pynchon wrote a book criticizing Puritanism.