WILL JAWANDO: Meet The Agbada-wearing Nigerian American Councilman

WILL JAWANDO: Meet The Agbada-wearing Nigerian American Councilman

Will Jawando, a Nigerian American who was elected into the Montgomery County Council in the United States, repped his roots as he rocked an Agbada outfit to his inauguration.

Initially reading this caption, you’d probably find it weird that any American councilman would wear an Agbada to a political inauguration ceremony (because it’s really not common. AT ALL). But this young American politician of Nigerian ancestry decided to “do it for the culture”. Literally.

The idea behind Will Jawando wearing an Agbada attire (or any other attire than a suit) to his swearing-in ceremony was so as to promote the African culture- precisely the Nigerian Yoruba culture, of which his father is a product.

Will Jawando is an attorney, an and a lawmaker representing the Montgomery County of born to a Nigerian father and an American mother from Kansas.

Will Jawando was quoted in a Twitter video as saying:

“We all come from different culture, it’s really important that we respect our differences even if those differences come in ways we don’t anticipate or even understand.

“So by wearing this agbada, this traditional West African clothing in a public setting to take the public oath of office, it’s part of a bigger and public dialogue that I think it’s needed if we are to understand and respect our differences and move forward.”

Will Jawando at his most recent inauguration to office. You see the Agbada, don’t you?

ABOUT WILL JAWANDO

Councilmember Will Jawando is an attorney, activist, and community leader with a lifelong dedication to public service. His career has been crafted by a unique combination of grit, compassion, and integrity.

Born in Silver Spring, Maryland to a Nigerian father and white Kansan mother, Will’s bi-racial identity gave him an appreciation for the varied experiences life in America can bring. Raised in a low-income household, he was determined to secure a successful future for himself through the pathway of education.

When he was a teenager, tragedy struck when one of his best friends was killed in a senseless act of gun violence. The aftermath of this ordeal would be the catalyst that would solidify Will’s commitment to becoming an agent of change through public service.

With unwavering dedication, he earned a B.A. in Sociology from Catholic University of America and completed his J.D. from their prestigious Columbus School of Law. While attending Catholic University, he started the first NAACP chapter on their campus – a move that would chart the course for his burgeoning career in law and politics.

Described as “the progressive leader we need” by revered civil rights activist and Congressman, John Lewis, Will has worked with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senator Sherrod Brown, and then-Senator Barack Obama.

During the 8-year Obama Administration, Will had the honor of serving as Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, followed by a position as an advisor to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

He has worked tirelessly to ensure a quality education, opportunities for prosperity and guaranteed civil rights are available to every American.

Will continued his dedication to public service in Montgomery County and in 2014, he founded Our Voices Matter-Maryland, a social justice non-profit that works with all communities to develop broader civic engagement, grassroots activism and leadership.

In 2017, he spearheaded Summer R.I.S.E., a summer job shadowing program in partnership with Worksource Montgomery, state and county government, and Montgomery County Public Schools that placed over 400 high school students in enriching career experiences.

Will is also a co-founder of the African Immigrant Caucus (AIC) whose mission is to increase civic engagement, economic development and political participation of Africans in the diaspora, in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia.

Will was elected and sworn-in as an at-large Montgomery County councilmember in December 2018 with the support of a diverse coalition from across the county.

Will’s platform was based on what he calls The MOCO Promise, something he believes all Montgomery County residents are entitled to: A safe, vibrant and inclusive community, with great schools and a strong economy. Understanding that not everyone shares in the promise of Montgomery County, Will is committed to fighting to keep the promise for all residents. 

It’s Will’s family and friends that keep him grounded and focused on what’s most important in life. A devoted husband and father of four beautiful children, his family is his greatest achievement.  

He and his wife Michele work together to create a loving and safe environment for their children, and won’t rest until Americans everywhere can have the same.

By Oluwamayowa Akinyemi

Oluwamayowa Akinyemi is a digital and web content developer with experience in web content development and management as well as research and writing. He is an avid reader of random subject matters and a sucker for movies and video games. He is also passionate about youth empowerment and is a global affairs analyst and enthusiast.

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