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Redeeming the Image

My name is Sarah
By SARA FAITH ALTERMAN  |  October 22, 2008

VIDEO: Sarah, PA, from the "My Name is Sarah" project

Well, technically, my name is “Sara.”

But I digress. is the Web project of a small consortium of media professionals who met up in Pennsylvania a few weeks ago to travel to swing states and produce videos about “Sarahs” who support Barack Obama. The project was conceived in response to the surge of interest in Sarah Palin — currently the most famous (or infamous) American Sarah — and aims to show the world that one Sarah does not represent the political ideals of all Sarahs (or Saras).

“I felt, as an artist, like my work hasn’t been very politically engaged,” says photographer, director, and “My Name Is Sarah” creator Tanit Sakakini, who was inspired by her distress over Palin’s inclusion on the Republican ticket. “I had supported Clinton, with a lot of trepidation, because I really wanted to see a woman in office. Sarah Palin is not what I wanted and not what I believe in. . . . But this wasn’t all about her. It was more about what the GOP has done to [typecast] women. I started wondering, what can we do in a small way to reclaim women for the Democratic Party?”

Sakakini and a team of filmmakers hit Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New Hampshire, looking for Sarahs who would express their support for Obama on camera, and met a group of women whose Democratic-leaning ideals sometimes landed them far out of favor in their largely conservative towns.

Sakakini, who also shot complementary man-on-the-street interviews with non-Sarahs, found the experience eye-opening. “There were a lot of people who said that, if Obama were white, it would be an entirely different race, and they’d have no qualms about supporting him at all,” she says. “We heard people say that they’re not sure they can support Obama because he’s ‘ethnic.’ "

To watch Sarahs speak out for Obama, check out

  Topics: News Features , Barack Obama , Democrats , Sarah Palin ,  More more >
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