My name is Ayomi Obuseh. My pronouns are she/her/hers.
I am a Nigerian-American, Activist, Organizer and current UW Madison student.
I started my activism journey at Madison West high school when I led protests against the lack of teacher diversity. I also advocated for the “Grow Your Own” program that supports BIPOC teachers, which in turn creates more support for BIPOC students.
From then I continued my involvement with community organizing and co-founded IMPACT DEMAND, a youth led activist group.
I am running to be Alder of District 8 because I want to take the energy from organizing in the streets to an office to accomplish even more. When elected I plan to become a bridge for UW Madison and the youth in the city and advocate for our future as well as bring a sense of urgency to council.
I’ve previously interned within the City Council, State Capitol, and on a congressional campaign, so I am already familiar with the work I would be doing. I hope my campaign can empower others to claim their seat at the table just as my community has empowered me, and I can’t wait to get to work!
“I learned to speak even if your voice shakes.” -Ayomi
My father joined the military when I was six years old. We moved around often, both at home and abroad. Living on a military base was difficult for everyone in my family. My father was often deployed and my mother worked the night shift, so I grew up taking care of my younger brother.
When I was 9, we were stationed in Ramstein, Germany and lived off base for 6 years. I often traveled to the US to visit my family but I revelled in the sense of security that living in Germany provided. The liberation of living off base allowed me to be creative and I grabbed at every opportunity I could. Traveling allowed me to gain a different perspective, hear innovative ideas and challenge myself, so I joined any club that took trips abroad such as Model United Nations.
Ayomi with her parents and brother.
Ayomi’s father dancing in Liberia.
At the age of 12, I got a small loan from my family, formed a cotton candy business, and received my license to sell. I would advertise online and was able to pay back my loan and get a second machine. Eventually, I hired my younger brother and we started a dog walking business soon after. This early leadership experience later manifested itself into me becoming president of the National Junior Honor Society. I later competed and won the Stemposium and spoke to the head of the DoDEA to encourage implementing STEM in all schools.
In 2014 I went to Nigeria, and whilst there I helped to take measurements for a local clinic to provide health prevention information for the Ebola Crisis. Being in Nigeria was more than just helping locals, it was the ability to meet my family for the first time and connect to who I am.
A year later I went to Uganda with my grandparents. I’ll never forget dinner by candlelight next to the Nile river and listening to the sounds of hippos coming closer at night.
I moved to Madison in 2016, which was a pretty scary time for most immigrant families. Understanding the system and my role inside of it felt like the only way to keep myself and my family safe. I took an African American Experience class at Madison West High School and it opened my eyes to so many possibilities that I once thought were impossible.
“Before I am a politician, I am an activist.” -Ayomi
Some of my previous activism work:
“We’ve repeatedly heard from the community that we need change and it’s time we stop hesitating” -Ayomi
So now, I am running with my community!
I am running to be the next District 8 alder because it is a place I’ve been happy to call home for years and have built a heavy mobilization of partners and supporters from this area. This district, one driven heavily by policy, best fits my skills and networks as a youth organizer who started in Madison, specifically the Madison Metropolitan School District. Due to the highly transient nature of the population of District 8, having an Alder that is cognizant of the issues faced by marginalized students of UW-Madison as well as a connection to the community members of District 8 and youth is vital for the Alder’s ability to ensure that the needs of the District are met at both a citywide and university level.
Due to my experience as a youth activist and community organizer in Madison, I believe that my legislative work will positively impact residents beyond my term. By being an organizer, I hear issues that the community faces every single day. By becoming a part of city council, I would be able to make sure that our concerns are not only validated but resolved. I want to ensure that our voices are taken into account when policies are made and integrated into action.
By running for office, I hope to empower those from other marginalized groups to advocate for themselves. I want to begin a legacy in District 8 that illustrates that an Alder needs to work primarily towards the betterment of communities who need it the most and whose needs have often been ignored: BIPOC, LGBTQ+, disabled, immigrants and low income communities. It is by uplifting those in need that everyone’s needs will be met. By running, I want to demonstrate the type of person who should represent their constituents: someone who has passion and a plan.