Obama White House alum visits Bridgeport to discuss new book on role of Black fathers in America

He says his biracial identity — as the son of a Nigerian father and a white mother from Kansas — has given him unique insight into the role of race and fatherhood in America.

News 12 Staff

Feb 22, 2023, 4:31 PM

Updated 451 days ago

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Obama White House alum, attorney and Maryland councilmember Will Jawando visited Bridgeport Wednesday to discuss his new book on the role of Black fathers in America.
Jawando's book, “My Seven Black Fathers,” explores the role of race, family and mentors not only in his own life, but also in Black American culture.
"Mr. Williams, my fourth-grade math teacher, who's one of the men in the book, I knew him for nine months. I never knew his first name until I researched the book 30 years later," said Jawando.
Jawando — who's from Maryland and has devoted his life to public service — visited Bridgeport for Black History Month, sharing his personal story of overcoming what he describes as "the low expectations" young Black men often face in America.
One chapter is devoted to former President Barack Obama.
"I meet Barack Obama when I'm in my mid-20s, trying to navigate being a father and a husband," said Jawando.
He says the book shows the power mentors possess.
"In the lives of Black men and boys, these relationships have a superhuman power to counter the stereotypes and tropes that have been told to us for generations," said Jawando.
He says his biracial identity — as the son of a Nigerian father and a white mother from Kansas — has given him unique insight into the role of race and fatherhood in America.
Jawando says he hopes to help shape a new generation of thinking in America through his writing and rich personal experiences.
He calls on others to do for Black men and boys what his mentors did for him, saying "you don't have to be a president to play a definite and defining role in their lives."
"None of these mentors were perfect, but they took the time, were intentional with me, loved me and helped me become who I am today," said Jawando.


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