One of my childhood fantasies was me flying around the world in a private plane, helping kids around the world, and especially in Africa. This was years before I knew about my ancestory. My great-grandfather was Baffour Osei Akoto, Chief Linguist of the Asantehene, our Ashanti King in Ghana, and founder of the National Liberation Movement. My great-uncle is John Kufuor, former president of Ghana. Becoming an activist in 2018 was divine intervention.
I grew up in Central PA. It was 98% white. The racism and frequent micro-aggressions didn’t stop be from wanting to fit in, they just confused me into internalized racism and a self-identity crisis that lasted for years. Everything from my speech, entertainment choices, relationships, and career moves were through the lens of white American culture, yet I didn’t often feel a natural reciprocal acceptance. The emotional labor of acting as someone I wasn’t and not honoring my authenticity was crushing my happiness and my personal growth. I decided to leave corporate America to become a life coach to empower others to find their authenticity and create their own version of happiness.
On April 12, 2018, while sitting in Starbucks studying coaching, I witnessed two Black men being racially discriminated against for not buying a coffee in a Philadelphia Rittenhouse Square Starbucks. Do I believe I was guided by the universe to that Starbucks I had only been to one other time in the five years I lived in Philly? Yes. Years of deeply and painfully understanding what it meant to be Black in America, my frustration was publicly released that day.
The world paid attention. After the incident went viral, society at large began talking about what racism looked in our present world, and what privilege looked like. So we took it a step further, and started a public conversation about what you could do with that privilege to address systemic racism. From Privilege to Progress was born that day. We are a non-profit organization that uses social media as the tool to desegregate the conversation about race. We speak to organizations, schools, and any and all groups to create authentically inclusive environments by addressing the racism we were all conditioned to believe. I may not be in a private plane (yet) but I’m living out a childhood fantasy of impacting change across oceans, and creating my own version of happiness and success.
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