Education

Congressional candidate Kojo Asamoa-Caesar reads “Green Pants” at story time

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(Left) Onikah Asamoa-Caesar (Right) Kojo Asamoa-Caesar read “Green Pants” to a group of  tiny-tots and school-aged children at Magic City Books in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Monday, November 25, 2019. Mr. and Mrs. Asamoa-Caesar are expecting their first child in April of 2020. 


Published 11/25/2019 | Reading Time 2 min 53 sec 

By Nehemiah D. Frank, Founder, Director, and Executive Editor 

TULSA, Okla. — On a crisp fall morning in November at Magic City Books, congressional candidate Kojo Asamoa-Caesar — a son of hard-working African immigrants and a millennial — reads happily to Oklahoma’s 1st Congressional District’s future tiny citizens; they politely listen while seated on brownish-colored crochet floor cushions in a room named after an indigenous North American tribe — the Algonquin room. 

The tiny-tots and their school-aged companions are present for Mr. Asamoa-Caesar’s reading of “Green Pants” by Kenneth Kraegel. It’s  a children’s picture book about a fictional African-American boy, with an Afro, named Jameson. Jameson’s boldness and uniqueness blossom when he chooses to go against the cultural norm by not wearing all black at his cousin’s wedding. In the story, Jameson decides to wear green pants instead. 

The children in attendance seemed to thoroughly enjoy the reading of “Green Pants” and even asked Mr. Asamoa-Caesar questions during story time about the book’s plot; “Mr. A,” as the children had been instructed to refer to Mr. Asamoa-Caesar by, kindly responded to their inquiries. 

Mr. Asamoa-Caesar says he chose to read “Green Pants” for story time because he was inspired by his godson Jaden, 9, and nephew Kenyon, 7, who came to visit last summer. 

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Congressional candidate Kojo Asamoa-Caesar reads to children in Oklahoma’s 1st Congressional District at Magic City Books in Tulsa, Oklahoma. 


“We took them to the library to pick out books. We let them pick out the books they liked. Part of what they had to do over the summer, to earn an allowance, was to read every night before they went to sleep. “Green Pants” was one of the books they loved the most,” Mr. Asamoa-Caesar explained, then added, “The characters look like them [African-American],” hinting at the importance of representation in books. Nevertheless, the congressional candidate also pointed out that any school-aged child could relate to Jameson’s character.  

Assisting Mr. Asamoa-Caesar during story time was Mrs. Onikah Asamoa-Caesar, the candidate’s wife. Mrs. Asamoa-Caesar is the owner of Fulton Street, a bookstore on the city’s north side that focuses on community building and social awareness through civic discourse. It is also a space that has a mission to increase literacy for all ages in Tulsa, which is badly-needed for a state that currently ranks 45th in education.

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Congressional candidate Kojo Asamoa-Caesar speaking to Oklahoma 1st Congressional District constituents in early November 2019 at his campaign’s launch party in Fulton Street. Fulton Street bookstore officially opens to the public in early 2020. 


In early November, Fulton Street became the birthplace of Mr. Asamoa-Caesar’s campaign quest to represent Oklahoma’s 1st Congressional District on Capitol Hill.     

Mr. and Mrs. Asamoa-Caesar are former elementary educators, both teaching at Title I schools for the Tulsa Public School District (TPS). They arrived in Tulsa in 2013 through the Teach for America program, a nonprofit organization whose stated mission, according to the organization’s website is to “enlist, develop, and mobilize as many as possible of [America’s] most promising future leaders to grow and strengthen the movement for educational equity and excellence.” 

Mr. Asamoa-Caesar is the embodiment of a promising American leader, graduating from law school at the College of William & Mary only to humble himself and become a kindergarten teacher at a disadvantaged school in the district he hopes to represent.

“I wanted to do something that was going to be purposeful and mission-driven, not just something to do because it was the next thing to do. I wanted to make a difference, and I wanted to use education as a tool to help people achieve their American dream,” the candidate said. Mr. Asamoa-Caesar noted that it was quality education that has led to his and his wife’s American success story.   

Mr. and Mrs. Asamoa-Caesar complement one another admirably. Equally yoked in all that they do, Mrs. Asamoa-Caesar taught at Gilcrease Elementary, now John Hope Franklin, while her husband taught at Tulsa Lighthouse Charter School, now known as Tulsa Legacy Charter School. Both schools are Title I and serve significant numbers of disadvantaged youth who receive free or reduced lunch. 

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Congressional candidate Kojo Asamoa-Caesar reads to children in Oklahoma’s 1st Congressional District at Magic City Books in Tulsa, Oklahoma. 


Mrs. Asamoa-Caesar is thrilled about her husband’s ambitions to become a congressional leader and represent Oklahoma. “She is on board 100% and is excited about the opportunity to bring people together,” he said.   

In 2019, prior to the launch of his congressional campaign, Mr. Asamoa-Caesar served as the interim director of 36 Degrees North, an entrepreneurial business hub for local startups, small business owners, freelancers, and remote workers. This experience should give the congressional candidate a pretty good understanding of where Oklahoma’s 1st Congressional District, and America, need to head. 

To learn more about Kojo Asamoa-Caesar and his 2020 congressional campaign visit: www.kojoforcongress.com.

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