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Passionate • Candid • Action-Oriented

Her Story

Kemi Akapo

Settlement Services Coordinator at New Canadians Centre, City Councillor, City of Peterborough, Daughter, Sister, Friend

"I am my ancestors' wildest dreams " - Author Unknown.

This is a quote I often think about.  I do not, in fact know what my ancestors’ dreams were but I’d like to think that they dreamed that life for their descendants would be one of more opportunity than they had.  This quote boosts me up when I am feeling drained, reminds me of how much I have accomplished and have to celebrate, and calls to attention the responsibility I hold in this life.  I am where I am today because of the work of thousands of people before me and those who have walked alongside me.  I must honour that and work towards creating that dream for future generations.

I am a Yoruba woman, the youngest of 4 and the only girl.  I was born 29 years after Nigeria had officially gained independence, and was in the infancy stages of working towards untangling itself from the effects of colonialism.  My story is not unique but it is one that could easily have not taken place,  The infant mortality rate where I’m from was at that time high, so living past my first birthday was already cause for celebration.  I am further deeply grateful to my parents for understanding the importance of education for all their children and providing me the opportunity to study and only focus on my studies and chosen extracurriculars.  I recognize that many people did not have that opportunity of choice, particularly girls once they reach a certain age.  Furthermore, because of the colonialist and patriarchal systems in place, being able to work towards my goals, while speaking my mind freely was quite special.

 

I move to Peterborough years ago to pursue an education at Trent University and gained so much more than that.  I know the word “blessed” is overused and is sometimes met with eye-rolling, but I really feel I have been.  I’ve found a wonderful community full of kind, caring, compassionate, driven, selfless, genuine people who actively work towards creating a better community for themselves and the people around them.  To have found such a community is something I am truly thankful for.  It certainly didn’t just fall into my lap, I had to work for it but I really am very aware of how blessed I am to have.  (I deleted this last sentence at first because if felt like bragging and as women, we’re told that any sort of acknowledgement that we had a hand in our own success is uncouth.  I am trying to change that narrative thought.)

 

I realize this isn’t the typical type of profile and I wasn’t sure where it was going when I first started writing it.  But this is important to me.  Recognizing the position I’m in, the privileges and opportunities I’ve had along the way makes up part of who I am.  A little bit more about me:  I am an introvert, I love a good book and one of my happiest places is sitting at a dinner table surrounded by friends and family or being outside in nature.  I’m working towards being an intersectional feminist and appreciating winter.

 

As I turn 30, I have so many hope and dreams for my future.  I’m excited to see where life takes me !

I am held up by hands and dreams of my ancestors and I hope to make them proud.