Political analysts had been saying since 2017 that Black voters will decide the 2020 presidential election in the U.S. And right from Joe Biden’s Democratic primary where Black voters in South Carolina helped him win to the presidential election where Black people lifted his bid to the presidency, Black voters have definitely been the backbone of his support, especially in key states like Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.
Exit poll data show that Black voters supported Biden by a margin of 87% to Donald Trump’s 12%. Clearly, when Black voters show up, they impact elections. And they did show up largely thanks to the efforts of Black women, particularly Ghanaian-American political strategist and racial equality advocate Adjoa B. Asamoah.
Asamoah was the National Advisor for Black Engagement for the Biden campaign, and through her efforts in that top leadership role to boost voter turnout, Biden and Kamala Harris — the first woman to become vice president — got elected.
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“As the National Advisor for Black Engagement, I work on multiple fronts to meaningfully engage the Black community, ranging from the African Diaspora to the Panhel family,” Asamoah explained her role in an interview with Watch The Yard ahead of the presidential elections.
“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 said.
Born to a Ghanaian father and Black American mother, Asamoah is a Delta Sigma Theta who travels the country mobilizing Black people for collective political action. In 2019, she grabbed headlines when she rallied support to get California to ban natural hair discrimination through the creation of the landmark CROWN Act.
“I understand the power of people and coalition building,” Asamoah said last June when she introduced the groundbreaking anti-hair discrimination bill. “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 organizations 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 U.S. Black Chambers of Commerce, and even, NOBEL Women, they all agreed to support my advocacy and this bill.”
Such is the expertise of Asamoah who has over the years been leveraging expertise in political psychology to help candidates who focus on the Black community win. Her website says she is a “trusted advisor to federal, state, and local officials, and she’s highly sought after to develop both high-profile and grassroots stakeholder coalitions.”
The democratic operative attributes her career choices to the experiences of her parents who would both be civically engaged. She told Watch The Yard that her father was born under colonization in the Gold Coast, what is now Ghana and retired as an Africana Studies and Political Science professor while her mother was born in the Jim Crow south, and went through the ills of segregation and racism.
Asamoah, by nine years old, had been to the birthplace of both parents, and having witnessed the struggles of Black people in “two different countries on two different continents”, she declared that she would dedicate her life to “moving Black people forward,” she said. Asamoah kickstarted this move during her high school years at Hopkins where she taught African Studies to elementary school students in Summerbridge, testified at the state capital for the first time, and led what she calls her first issue campaign — refusing to refer to the school leader as headmaster, she said.
Wanting to fully comprehend Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah’s approach to liberation, Asamoah, while in college, chose to come back to Ghana as an international student one semester to study African history. Asamoah, who completed undergraduate and graduate studies at Temple University, earning degrees in Psychology, African American Studies, and Educational Psychology, holds a post-master’s certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis from St. Joseph’s University.
She also holds multiple licenses including one as a behavior specialist. Asamoah earned her three degrees in psychology, prioritizing human behavior because she wanted to understand how Black people survived enslavement while living under oppression, “and even thrive in some cases on multiple fronts”, she explained.
And while at Temple, she challenged the university on plans to gentrify the community, served as (EΔ) chapter president, VP of the NAACP, and Treasurer of the African Student Union, she told Watch The Yard. All these factors and more would get Asamoah, 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 mobilizing Black people around many issues externally.
Her senior policy advisor role was followed by an appointment to the Commission on African American Affairs, where she served as the highest-ranking elected member. The practicing therapist has to date served on several commissions, boards, and advisory councils for organizations including the NAACP, National Urban League, and the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority’s National Social Action Commission.
When politicians saw her amazing ability to galvanize people around policies and to raise money, they began asking her to consult for them. Since then, Asamoah has been creating winning campaigns for them, with her recent victory being Biden’s.
As the National Adviser for Black Engagement, Asamoah explained what a typical workday was like for her and the team. “We’re all hands on deck, mobilizing the base, engaging with voters, connecting with stakeholders, speaking at (virtual) events, strategizing and executing,” said Asamoah, whose several objectives included the need to remind Black people of their electoral power and the need to vote.
With California Senator Harris set to become the first woman and woman of color to be vice president of the U.S., women, particularly Black women, are elated and so is Asamoah.
“Progress is not a spectator sport, and as a strategist who mobilizes leaders and communities for social change and political action, it was important for me to help fight this battle,” she told POPSUGAR. “But I remained faithful, and I paired sentiment with action to shift the tide. Now, we’re about to have the first woman and person of color as vice president.”