This isn’t your father’s fundraiser.
Complete with a hip-hop DJ and avant-garde portraits of their candidate, a group of nearly 200 people gathered Thursday night to pledge their support for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.
The fundraiser, billed as a “historic event” by organizers, included speeches from former Wisconsin Supreme Country Justice and current UW Law School lecturer Louis Butler and Michelyn Butler, Miss Wisconsin USA 2007.
The event, which took place at Best Western Inn Towner on Old University Avenue, was organized by the Madison chapter of Young and Powerful for Obama, a national group of young professionals devoted to community service and raising money for the Obama campaign.
Event organizer Remi Aregbesola, who is not affiliated with the University of Wisconsin, said the Madison organizers were connected through Facebook by Jarvis Houston and My’Ron McGee, national chairs of YPFO.
DJ Martinez White introduced the night’s speakers, who included Butler, Rep. Jason Fields, D-Milwaukee, Rep. Kelda Helen Roys, D-Madison, and Gov. Jim Doyle’s son, Gus Doyle.
In addition to the DJ, the fundraiser also included an auction of three Obama portraits on display in the hotel lobby before the event began.
Several University of Wisconsin students also volunteered at the event.
Daniella Lopez, UW junior and event volunteer, said volunteering on the campaign has begun to monopolize her free time, although it has been a great experience.
“I’m having a lot of fun working on the campaign,” she said. “But I have leadership positions with other groups on campus, and this job has started to overshadow them.”
She also mentioned how Students for Obama, College Democrats and Campaign for Change have merged and are now working together to maximize campus support for Obama.
Butler, who remained a nonpartisan member of the state Supreme Court for 16 years, threw his support to Obama Thursday night.
“I worry about my daughter and granddaughters’ futures if we don’t vote on Nov. 4,” Butler said.
The event coincided with similar events hosted by the same organization in seven cities across the country, including New York, Los Angeles and Atlanta.
Madison was chosen as one of the host cities because of its reputation as a cultural center for young people and its fundraising abilities, Aregbesola said.
“Madison is a very unique place,” Aregbesola said. “The university brings a lot of resources to the table and its students are highly engaged.”
He went on the praise the hard work Obama volunteers had done over the campaign.
“The volunteers are always giving their all,” Aregbesola said. “They are really driving the campaign.”