I was born in West Africa in a place called Futa Jallon. It was a kingdom founded in the 1600’s, I am a member of the Fulani Nation of West Africa. I grew up as a herd boy and was shaped by both Christian and Islamic education. I immigrated to the United States to make a home here and participate in this country in a meaningful way. I first lived in New York City for several years. This experience shaped my political view because I did not like the way society worked there. I went to Utica College to study Economics and escape the city. I then visited Burlington and it was love at first sight. I soon moved here to go to the University of Vermont, where I studied Political Science.
My time in Burlington:
Until recently, I worked at Vermont Superior Court as a legal assistant to the Chittenden County State’s Attorney’s Office. In the past 8 years I have lived in both Winooski and Burlington and I have held many positions to serve the community. I had the privilege of engaging with immigrant youth as a volunteer with the Boys and Girls Club and a soccer coach at the YMCA in Winooski. I was an AmeriCorps member with Local Motion as their Cultural Liaison. I volunteered with Channel 17 to film many parts of the Occupy Movement so that the voices of the protesters could be heard. I have been part of many social justice movements in the community. As long my sense of injustice is awakened I will act to be a part of a solution. It is in my family to build peace and community.
Why I am running:
I have a love for this city and that is why I am running as Burlington City Councilor for the South District, Wards 5 and 6. I feel like I was born in Burlington, my life is connected to this community and everyday my passion for this city is driven by love. Burlington has such great potential and good intentions but people all around me are suffering and not afforded basic dignity. That is why I have served from the outside as best I could. I no longer think that this is enough.
We are all shaped by our experiences, perceptions, and by people who influence our lives. It is difficult for people currently in power to understand the complexity of the experience that I offer in comments and/or critiques. People can hear some parts and not others. That is why I want to see more immigrants run for office. I want to see more young people run for office. I want to see more people of color run for office. I want to see more Muslims run for office. But I realize that it is a difficult time in America to put yourself out there for this kind of job, it comes with risk. Everyone seems to be concerned with their own personal safety and I have that too. And yet, because of my love for Burlington and for so many people that are part of this community, I decided that I will take the risk and fight the good fight for all of us. I see a great potential if we learn to work together.
What I currently do:
I am a Chittenden Court Diversion Review Board Member, and I am the newest member of the Community Impact Team for the United Way of Northwest Vermont. I am ready to commit to serving on the City Council as a representative for the South District. I know that this will be challenging work and I have never had trouble with working hard.