About a week ago, I shared a conversation with our chair Lij Teodrose Fikremariam that really struck a chord. He told me about an encounter he had with a fellow Ethiopian who advised him that trying to restore the monarchy was a fool’s errand and that it was impossible to revive the Solomonic Crown.

“If I asked you in 2006 between restoring the Ethiopian crown or America electing the first black president in two years,” asked Lij Teodrose of the naysayer, “which would you have said was more impossible?’

The naysayer admitted that the thought the idea of the United States electing a black president in the next election cycle was nothing short of a unicorn given America’s history of racism and exclusion of African-Americans. As Nelson Mandela once noted, it always seems impossible until it’s done. This is why my compatriots within Ethiopians for Constitutional Monarchy and I are determined to restore the Solomonic crown; though it’s a daunting task to bring back what was aborted by extremists in 1974, it only takes a few people working in collaboration and with tenacity to start a movement that can transform Ethiopia from an island of poverty for most into an oasis of prosperity for all.

Our belief in effecting a positive change in Ethiopia is the precise reason we started Ethiopians for Constitutional Monarchy and the basis for Gobez Aleka initiative. Instead of turning to failed tactics of pushing change from the top and furthering yet another cult of personality, our aim is to galvanize an organic and bottom-up movement that will lead to a profound social change that we all have been waiting and praying for. Ethiopians have grown tired of broken promises and empty rhetoric that start with fundraisers for the organization only to end up delivering only lip service to the people. We will not be a high society of tuxedos and talking points, we refuse to preach from ivory towers while our people are hurting. Our mission is to provide services and tangible results for our people—we will not use Ethiopia and the suffering of her people to raise funds and elevate ourselves.

In the same conversation that Lij Teodrose shared with me, he conveyed to me his experiences as an organizer for the Barack Obama campaign from 2007-2008 and how he traveled to 16 states on behalf of Obama for America. He was so involved in the campaign that He made it his purpose to immerse himself in the tactics and strategy the Obama campaign was using to first defeat Hillary Clinton and eventually become president of the United States.

Lij Teodrose was so involved in the campaign that he was able to get the Obama campaign to release a persona thank you letter acknowledging the contributions of the Ethiopian-American community signed by Barack Obama himself. Lij Teodrose also told me about a speech idea that he forwarded to the Obama campaign through his friend in Chicago ended up being incorporated into Barack Obama’s South Carolina Primary victory speech in 2008. He was such a vital contributor to the Obama campaign that he was personally invited to Chicago in December of 2008 to help launch Organizing for America, a political organization that was formed to rally public opinion and give Obama a political mandate.

The lessons Lij Teodrose learned during his time as an organizer for the Obama campaign is what we are going to deploy to restore the Ethiopian monarchy. Obama was able to defeat the Hillary campaign and achieved a historic feat because he was an open-sourced and volunteer driven organization that had top flight leadership providing strategic and tactical direction to the campaign. We too are forming an executive team of educated and driven professionals who are working pro bono to restore the Ethiopian crown.

Lij Teodrose designed the Gobez Aleka program with the same structure and techniques he learned during his time as an Obama organizer and incorporated the business and marketing knowledge he accrued while earning an MBA from Johns Hopkins University. Below is a process flow he designed that explains the vision, mission and methodology that is the basis of the Gobez Aleka Initiative. If you are interested in becoming a Gobez Aleka, read more about it by clicking here and send us an email expressing interest to gobez@ethiopians4cm.org with the subject header “Gobez Aleka”.

The Obama campaign famously used the catch phrase “Yes We Can” to refute the naysayers, we too believe we can do something historic for Ethiopia and deliver authentic change to our people back home and abroad. When people say “it can’t be done” and doubt that we can restore the Ethiopian monarchy, we reply “yichalal” and then get to work. #YichalalEthiopia