Obama to Host ‘Neighborhood Inaugural Ball’ in Washington, D.C.

January 20th, Inauguration Day 2009, will be a huge event across the United States and President-elect Barack Obama wants to make sure that all Americans have the opportunity to join in the celebrations.

With that in mind, Obama plans to host a first ever “Neighborhood Inaugural Ball” in Washington D.C. that will be a primarily free event held in conjunction with the rest of the inaugural proceedings — and will also include real-time, interactive webcasts and text messaging elements to connect with “neighborhoods across the country”.

It’s exciting to witness an American president who truly understands the power and potential of new media, both to engage actual, physical communities and to connect them virtually, socially, and digitally.

This will have a lasting and profound effect on the ability for individual Americans to come together, create, share, and participate in new forms of shared, lived experience.

In this sense, new media can truly inspire new kinds of social engagement. And that’s about as close to a working model of democracy as you can get.

Barack Obama will host the first ever “Neighborhood Inaugural Ball” in Washington D.C.

The free event will take place at the Washington Convention Center as part of this year’s inauguration during the evening of January 20th.

“This is an Inauguration for all Americans,” Obama says. “I wanted to make sure that we had an event that would be open to our new neighborhood here in Washington, D.C., and also neighborhoods across the country. Michelle and I look forward to joining our fellow Americans across the country during this very special event.”

The ball will feature interactive components, such as webcasts and text messaging, that will serve to link neighborhoods across the U.S. in real time with the event.

The gala is just one way that Obama’s team is seeking to engage Washington, D.C. residents. Additional efforts are being made to involve youth in the events.

The announcement of the gala event comes on the heels of another opportunity focused at bringing Washington residents to the inaugural activities. D.C. high school and middle school students have the chance to submit an essay detailing how they would use community service to contribute to the improvement of their neighborhood.

Three tickets, reserved for the bleachers along the parade route next to the presidential reviewing stand in front of the White House, will be given to the students of the winning essays from each school.

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