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Chicago organizer who worked with Obama retires

June 3, 2013

CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago community organizer who worked with a young Barack Obama, meeting with the now-president weekly in the 1980s when he worked on the city’s South Side, is retiring.

Greg Galluzzo, 69, is in his final weeks with the Gamaliel Foundation, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Monday (http://bit.ly/13AoS1n). Galluzzo has directed the training and consulting organization since 1986 and has been a community organizer for 41 years.

He said he met Obama in 1985, when the president was in his early 20s, and remembers the president as “a hardworking man, very willing to learn, a man with incredible integrity and a man who was comfortable no matter who he was talking to.”

Galluzzo taught Obama about raising money for community organizations and designing community strategies during their weekly meetings.

“He really embraced the community, and the community embraced him,” Galluzzo said. “I think it was one of the more formative moments in his life where he became proud of his own ancestry because the people made him proud.”

Galluzzo also said Obama wasn’t intimated to speak with anyone.

“I saw him on many occasions just talk to very low-income people and they would feel wonderful talking to him,” Galluzzo said. “They never felt put down. They felt affirmed.”


Information from: Chicago Sun-Times, http://www.suntimes.com/index

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