What do you want President Obama to remember as he starts his second term?
NPR recently put that question to its listeners and online followers and received dozens of submissions, including many from residents of Berkeley, San Francisco and other cities in California. The messages were in the form of a letter that began "Dear President," and they covered topics ranging from the environment to the economy to gay marriage.
"I hope you change our current higher education system," Berkeley resident Zora Moniz wrote. "As a student applying to college and searching for my calling, the amount of money it costs to apply to a university and the debt it can give you is, at the very least, intimidating. I hope for a change that will give me the opportunity to become whoever and whatever I want to be, without monetary restrictions."
"Using even a small portion of our military budgets to pursue new energy technologies and carbon sequestration technologies, we will be able to ramp up the transition away from fossil fuels more expeditiously than otherwise possible," Ravasio wrote.
A Richmond woman who gave her name as Virginia, meanwhile, emphasized the importance of immigration reform.
I had to live in fear for years that my husband would be deported. I would have had to drop out of school and leave the country I was born in to be with him. Current immigration laws encourage illegal immigration. Why does it take 12+ years for paperwork to be processed for law abiding immigrants? Why does it cost thousands of dollars to file one piece of paper? Deport criminals, don’t split up good hard-working students and families!
NPR also asked those who submitted to the project to include a photo of themselves holding a sign with a key word or phrase the president should remember. Here are some of the photos submitted by Northern California residents; click on their photos to read their messages. You can see all the messages submitted by Californians through Sunday here and add your own submissions here.