If you want the simple answer, it started while I was being raised in a Jamaican family that had moved to the United States. Those stories of struggle, triumph and assimilation leaked into my brain, filled my muscles with the only version of success anyone could have ever really told me - go to college, get a job, and do what you have to do. In reality, I was a hybrid. Sun kissed by Jamaican summers. Trapped within the pages of my books. Looking to a future that I thought I could control with my own actions.
At Ohio University, I found my heart, my pen, and by my senior year, I stumbled upon what woke so many others up - the image of Michael Brown in that street and the fire taking Ferguson at night. As I looked at the people of color around me, we all wondered the same thing, “What do we do?”
In October 2015, I went to Missouri for Ferguson October and participated in protests there. Upon returning to my university, I helped organize hundreds of students to walk out of classes to raise awareness for the shooting death of Michael Brown. My life became consumed with this boy that could have easily been me.
With the non-indictment of Darren Wilson came #OCCUPYBAKER where dozens of students occupied Ohio University’s student center. I helped put pressure on the university with the Ohio University Student Union to demand that the university not irresponsibly spend $1.2 million on a home for OU’s president. They didn’t.
Since graduating from Ohio University, I continued his activism as a boycott organizer for UNITE HERE Local 8, helped organize campaigns against gentrification in Seattle, Washington, marched during NUIT DEBOUT protest in Paris in 2016, and interuppted Bill Clinton during a speech in 2016 to highlight the effect of the 1994 Crime Bill on black communities being targeted by police.