Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Adjoa Asamoah, the Ghanaian who served on Joe Biden’s team as Advisor for Black Engagement

Before his victory over Donald Trump in the just-ended U.S. elections, President-elect Joe Biden suffered several bouts of poor results in the primaries.

But Black voters came through for him as he won two-thirds of the Black votes in South Carolina to beat his competitors for that key demography.

Biden’s victory over Trump is also due in no small measure to the support of Blacks in key battleground states like Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

The appeal of the Biden campaign to Black Americans can be attributed to the work of a Ghanaian, Adjoa Asamoah, who played the role as the campaign’s National Advisor for Black Engagement.

Adjoa was born to a Ghanaian father and Black American mother.

In an interview with Watch The Yard, a media company that celebrates Blacks, before the U.S. presidential elections, Adjoa explained that her role as National Advisor for Black Engagement involves working on multiple fronts to meaningfully engage the Black community, ranging from the African Diaspora to the Panhel family.

This is what Adjoa Asamoah told Watch The Yard about how her career path led to her position as advisor for Black engagement for the Biden campaign.

My father was born under colonization in what would become Ghana and retired as an Africana studies and political science professor. My mother was born in the Jim Crow south, and experienced racism on multiple fronts. Both were civically engaged, and I was born into the movement, with their lived experiences informing my career choices.

By the age of nine, I had gone to the birthplace of both parents, and in witnessing Black people struggle in two different countries on two different continents, as unbelievable as I realize it sounds, I declared then I would dedicate my life to moving Black people forward.

That has since taken on different forms. While attending Hopkins for high school, I taught African Studies to elementary school students in Summerbridge, testified at the state capital for the first time, and led my first issue campaign–refusing to refer to the school leader as headmaster. While in college, I opted to return to Ghana as an international student one semester to study African history and gain a better understanding of Kwame Nkrumah’s approach to liberation.

While in undergrad at Temple, I challenged the university on plans to gentrify the community, served as (E?) chapter president, VP of the NAACP, and Treasurer of the African Student Union, landing myself a university presidential appointment to the University Affirmative Action Committee.

Wanting to understand how we survived enslavement, coped with living under oppression, and even thrive in some cases on multiple fronts, I earned 3 degrees in psychology, focusing on human behaviour.

I was a practising therapist and cofounder of a mental health clinic in Philly, and also consulted in education to address the need to create positive school climates and culturally competent approaches to educating students.

With a desire to dismantle the school-to-prison-pipeline, I decided to attend GW to do my doctoral work, and like what happens to so many people who encounter DC, I found myself surrounded by problems warranting fixing. I had ideas, and I was vocal. I was tapped to serve as the mayor’s policy advisor managing the “equity” portfolio, subsequently saw a need to mobilize our people around many issues externally, and was ultimately appointed to the Commission on African American Affairs, and I was appointed to the State Title I Committee of Practitioners–where I serve as chair of the 4th consecutive year.

I have served as adjunct faculty, teaching African American Psychology: The Psychology of the Black Experience, and with the ability to galvanize people around policies, coupled with an ability to raise money, politicians started asking me to consult for them, and I have leveraged expertise in cultural intelligence and behavioural psychology to create winning campaigns.

As a mover of policy and culture, evidenced by the legislative victories I spearheaded to codify the nation’s first Office on African American Affairs and introduce and pass the groundbreaking anti-hair discrimination CROWN Act, I mobilize leaders and communities for social change and collective political action.

Adjoa Asamoah describes herself as a successful impact strategist, international influencer, and racial equity, diversity, and inclusion champion.

Her expertise includes delivering targeted training and leveraging cultural intelligence and behavioural psychology to create winning campaigns.

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