Adjoa Asamoah: The Ghanaian who served as Joe Biden’s advisor for Black engagement

Adjoa Asamoah served as Joe Biden’s National Advisor for Black Engagement and she is credited with galvanising Black support for him

Ghanaian-American political strategist, and racial equality advocate, Adjoa Asamoah, is credited with successfully galvanising Black voters to ensure Joe Biden’s win in the Democratic primary and victory over incumbent President Donald Trump in the presidential race.

From the Democratic primary to the 2020 presidential race, Black voters came through for Biden to help him defeat his contenders as he won two-thirds of the Black votes in South Carolina.

True to what political analysts had posited since 2017 that Black voters would decide the 2020 presidential race, Biden’s victory is certainly due to the massive support he received from Black voters in key battleground states like Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

Data released by exit poll shows the overwhelming support President-elect Biden received as a then-Democratic candidate by a margin of 87% to Republican candidate, Trump’s 12%.

Asamoah, an international influencer, is credited with the record support of African-Americans in the Democratic primary and turnout in the presidential race, which propelled Biden to victory.

Early days

Born to a Ghanaian father and Black-American mother, Asamoah’s father was born in the Gold Coast, present-day Ghana, who retired as Africana studies and a political science professor.

Her mother was born at a time in the US when racism was still rife – in the Jim Crow South.

By the age of nine, Asamoah had visited the birthplace of both parents and witnessed the struggle of Black people in two different countries on two different continents.

The experiences informed her decision to dedicate her life to advancing the cause of Black people.

Daring academic and leadership strides

Determined Asamoah began in her small but powerful way to “move Black people forward”. While attending Hopkins for high school, she taught African Studies to elementary school students in Summerbridge, testified at the state capital for the first time, and led her first-ever issue campaign, refusing to refer to the school leader as headmaster.

During her years in the university, her quest to better comprehend Ghana’s first president, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah’s approach to liberation, informed her decision to return to Ghana as an international student for a semester to study African history.

After years of hard work, she earned her first degree and graduate studies at Temple University, obtaining degrees in Psychology, African American Studies, and Educational Psychology.

While at Temple University, she served as chapter president, vice-president of the NAACP, and Treasurer of the African Student Union. Asamoah has to her credit a post-master’s certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis from Saint Joseph’s University and holds several licenses in multiple fields, including one as a behavior specialist.

Even before she went on to pursue three degrees in psychology, she knew the area she wanted to focus on due to the lived experiences of her parents. While pursuing her degrees, she prioritised human behavior to better understand how Black people survived enslavement while living under oppression, “and even thrive in some cases on multiple fronts”.

Asamoah’s leadership and academic laurels earned her a doctoral candidate in Leadership (Administration and Policy) at The George Washington University, an appointment as a senior policy advisor in the District of Columbia’s Executive Office of the Mayor, where she later began mobilising Black people around many issues externally.

She had discovered, like many people who encounter DC, that there were problems warranting fixing.

Having been recognised as someone with flourishing ideas and outspoken, she was appointed to serve as the mayor’s policy advisor managing the “equity” portfolio, subsequently appointed to the Commission on African American Affairs, where she served as the top-ranking elected member.

Asamoah has also served on multiple commissions, boards, and advisory councils for organisations, including the NAACP, National Urban League, and the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority’s National Social Action Commission.

Serving on Joe Biden’s team

As the National Advisor for Black Engagement, Asamoah explained her role in an interview with Watch The Yard, a media company that celebrates Blacks.

“I work on multiple fronts to meaningfully engage the Black community, ranging from the African Diaspora to the Panhel family.

“Standing up the Team Unity initiative and the Divine Nine GOTV rally that tens of thousands of D9 members attended (featuring Senator Kamala Harris, with DJ D-Nice and others) are just two examples of the kind of work I do,” she explained.

Asamoah is largely known as a mover of policy and culture, evidenced by the legislative victories she spearheaded to codify the nation’s first office on African American Affairs and introduce and pass the groundbreaking anti-hair discrimination CROWN Act.

In 2019, she gained the attention of major eyeballs and grabbed headlines when she galvanised support to get California to ban natural hair discrimination through the creation of the landmark CROWN Act.

“I have leveraged both to get legislation passed in the national’s capital. It’s always amazing to witness that power, as was the case during the committee hearing for this bill. The organisations that I worked to garner support from are powerful. When I tapped my personal network and reached out to the leaders of entities like Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc, The National Council of Negro Women, The US Black Chambers of Commerce, and even, NOBEL Women, they all agreed to support my advocacy and this bill,” she told Watch The Yard.

Asamoah’s work has earned her the attention of politicians because of her ability to bring people together around policies to raise money. She is “highly sought after to develop both high-profile and grassroots stakeholder coalitions, and liaise between political and corporate entities,” a statement on her website said.

Before working with the Biden campaign, she had been mobilising leaders and communities for social change and collective political action. Biden’s presidential victory over Trump adds to her portfolio of accomplishments and expertise.

Asamoah admits that it was teamwork that earned them the victory in the US presidential race.

“We’re all hands-on deck, mobilising the base, engaging with voters, connecting with stakeholders, speaking at (virtual) events, strategising and executing,” she said.

The practicing therapist and cofounder of a mental health clinic in Philly, who also spoke to POPSUGAR, said she “remained faithful as she paired her sentiment with action to shift the tide,” knowing the progress is not a spectator sport, and as a strategist who mobilises leaders and communities for social change and political action, it was important for her to help fight this battle.”

Having successfully helped to galvanise Black voters to help decide the presidential election for the Democratic party, Biden is set to become the 46th president of the United States as vice president-elect, Kamala Harris will be making history as the first woman and person of colour to occupy that position.

Nathaniel Crabbe

Asaase Radio 99.5 – tune in or log on to broadcasts online.

Follow us on Twitter: @asaaseradio995

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