Kerry: “Addicted”—love it. There are worse things to be addicted to than democracy building. Miss LaTosha Brown, how about you? Your aha moment.
LaTosha Brown: It’s interesting. I am sitting here thinking about the question, and I don’t know if I have an answer of an aha moment in the sense that I think there have been several moments. I was led to the work because I love human beings. There’s been two things that have shaped who I am—this deep love for life and people, and then this keen sense of injustice. I never liked to see people use power against people who were powerless,
I keep telling people that my work is not about elections. It’s about, How are we going to restore or reclaim our humanity? And for me, voting is an expression of that. Every single human being should have a right to have some input on decisions made about their lives, and so I fundamentally believe that to the core of my being. I want the world to be better.
Kerry: You’re not going to have me crying today.
Nsé: I love it.
Kerry: Nsé, what about you?
Nsé: Like LaTosha, I feel like I was always a precocious kid that felt things very deeply and had a strong sense of “This is not right.” I didn’t know if I could do anything about it, but you going to hear me say something because I don’t like what I’m seeing!
Listen, I’m an immigrant kid from a working-class family; [the daughter of] a single parent from Nigeria. They don’t play any kind of games. My junior year of college, I got my first D in organic chemistry, and I was pre-med. I was like, “All right, so I’m about to be murdered.” I didn’t feel like I had a lot of career options, but the truth was I did. It was the summer of 2001. I had pledged a sorority. I had got a little boyfriend. And I had hustled an internship at CNN for the summer. [The network was] covering the World Conference Against Racism, and so I spent the summer in Durban, South Africa. I met so many lawyers who did not practice law. There were communicators, there were fundraisers, there were graphic designers. It felt like, “Oh, this might be something that I could do where I could satisfy my family, but also get paid or figure out a way to feed myself to do the work that I care about deeply; the democracy work that I care about, the justice work that I care about.”
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