Kwesi Chappin is a community organizer based in Cheverly, Maryland. On a mission to create tangible change for Black folks; he teaches others how to turn their apathy into anger and hold elected officials accountable. He believes that when Black folks are treated like soccer moms by the political establishment, they’ll get the resources and attention needed to win. For Kwesi, politics is the allocation of resources that affects everyday life. His family experienced this first hand when his older autistic brother couldn’t get the resources he needed at school in Trinidad & Tobago and immigrated to the U.S. when Kwesi was a child. Later, in high school, Kwesi learned about how government works and the importance of storytelling as an educator with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in D.C. After that, he went on to study political science at the University of Maryland and officially became a history nerd driven by the need to always understand “why.” In 2007, Kwesi's life changed when he joined the Obama campaign. As an organizer, he launched Cleveland’s first successful presidential volunteer program, where he mobilized the city’s residents to knock on their neighbor’s doors instead of bringing in paid outsiders. From there, he served as Training Director at the New Organizing Institute. Next, he created the Black Roots New Media Bootcamp, the first-ever digital strategy training program for people of color, before returning to the Obama campaign in 2012. After that, he was in charge of statewide volunteer coordination and managing paid canvassers in Ohio, ensuring the state stayed blue. Since then, he has done a variety of dope things. He shut down coal plants with the Sierra Club. Convened churches in Arkansas around the issue of healthcare as part of SEIU - Change That Works. Helped elect the Prime Minister of Trinidad & Tobago. Formalized the employee union at the Center for Popular Democracy. (He also learned how to DJ and hosts an epic backyard cookout every year.) Kwesi recently worked at the online racial justice organization, Color Of Change. As Senior Political Director, he was instrumental in moving the membership base beyond clicking petitions into deeper online and offline engagement and kicking terrible district attorneys out of office who didn’t fight for Black folks. In all of his endeavors, Kwesi takes a holistic and humans-first approach to organizing: meeting people and communities where they’re at and listening to their needs in an authentic, respectful way. One of his former colleagues said, “it’s like magic” when Kwesi is in the room. But it’s easy to be in the community if you listen. Then, blending his knowledge with the community’s, he equips people with the skills and tools to organize on their own. As a consultant, Kwesi works with social justice organizations doing dope things. He helps them create tangible, impactful experiences for their membership base via training on public narrative and strategy. His favorite clients are still learning and growing and aren’t afraid to take risks.
Netroots Nation participation
- Netroots Nation 2022