I am a husband to my wife of four years, a father to a newborn baby girl, the son of immigrants who came here in pursuit of the American Dream, a proud product of public schools and a law school graduate of the oldest law school in the nation. After graduation, I chose to become a kindergarten teacher in Oklahoma to help ensure that all kids had access to a great education. I am now the Democratic nominee for Congress in Oklahoma’s 1st district. I am the first Black nominee from the district, the youngest ever Democratic nominee from the district, and the first Ghanaian American nominee for Congress.
What were the biggest initial hurdles and how did you overcome them?
My dad wasn’t around when I was born; I didn’t meet him until I was 22 years old. He is currently incarcerated. My mom suffered a debilitating stroke when I was 14 years old and we’ve been living apart ever since. I was an independent student throughout my college years but with the help of generous government grant and loan programs as well as a village of friends and a supportive community, I was able to overcome the odds and achieve success.
What books are you currently reading?
I am currently reading Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari and The Path to Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson by Robert Caro
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your pursuits?
How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight? Yes I did. My parents wanted me to major in Engineering but I wasn’t interested. So I changed my major to communications and political science. This caused some tension, but I stuck to my convictions. When I decided to become a teacher after law school, my family and friends didn’t understand my decision and thought I was crazy. But once again, I trusted my instincts. Hindsight has proved me right. The only thing I would do differently is to trust my instincts even more on every decision and not allow others opinions to cloud my judgement. I’m the one that has to live this life and live with the consequences of my decisions, not them.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your success?
My faith in God and my genuine relationship with Jesus Christ and desire to understand his purpose for my life and to obey and follow it.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started?
Worrying is the most useless endeavour one can engage in. It’s a waste to fret over things that you can’t control. Focus on what you can control and leave the rest to God.
What advice would you give to an upcoming youth or talents locally and internationally?
Believe in yourself. You are just as smart, talent and gifted as anybody else. Become obsessed with finding your purpose and once you find it, commit your life to serving it and maximizing your potential. That is the true path to living a meaningful and productive life.