I am a first generation college graduate.
On my wall I have several diplomas: my bachelor’s degree from Kenyon College (in Gambier, OH), my MBA, and my mother’s general equivalency high school diploma–I would put my high school diploma on there, but I love the case in which it came. While I have had the opportunity to study and earn advanced degrees my mother’s only opportunity was years after she left her birth country of Jamaica and brought her several young children here, to America. I see that wall in the morning as I am getting ready for my day and I am motivated by what was achieved through hard work and determination.
As a fearful, and eager, young college student I found myself in the Buckeye State; and now almost seventeen plus years later I call Ohio, and most notably, Columbus home. And while I did not have the opportunity to experience elementary through high school here in the region, I’ve gained a strong familiarity with our local educational community through my work as a college counselor shepherding students and their families to colleges here in Columbus, and Ohio, but also to colleges and universities across the country. I believe a strong educational foundation will allow our young people to achieve many of their dreams; programs like I Know I Can and City Year Columbus help foster a deeper understanding and commitment around educational exploration.
I am a first generation American.
When my single-mother left our birth country she dreamed of a better life for her and her children. My life has never traveled along a single road–I suppose I still don’t know the reminder of the road my life will travel and this may not be the final road. But what I believe to be true is that every road I have traveled has had one purpose: to lead me home.
I spent many great years of development living in Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island New York. My mother’s family took me in after she passed away and when I was fifteen the greater Atlanta Area was my next stop. My Caribbean identity helped me understand the importance of cultural competency and inclusion as I navigated the social, cultural, and economic disparities of my experience in the United States.
In 2008 I became a U.S. citizen as I was inspired by the groundswell of Americans engaged in the democratic process and their faith for all that this great Nation stands.
I am an Ohioan.
My life began when I came to college in Ohio and for eight years the greater Columbus area was all I knew. I left Columbus in 2006 and spent six years living in the San Francisco Bay area. During my time in the Bay Area I stepped up my engagement in LGBTQ initiatives focused on equal rights and safe schools/anti-bullying. I would return to the Columbus area several times a year for work, to see my adopted Ohio family, and to watch Columbus evolve.
In this place I launched myself out into the world. It was in this place that I developed great friendships; which have evolved into new definitions of family. It was here that I chose to return to buy my first house and today I am proud to call it a home. It is here that my roots will grow strong and my future will become interwind as deep as my past, and we, the city and I, will be better for it.
I’m glad to have been around to see Columbus evolve and I hope to work at helping it along the way.
Columbus is my home and I’ld be honored to serve its citizens.