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Disclaimer: Emeka Nnaka is the co-host of The Black Sheep Podcast, a show presented by The Black Wall Street Times.
On Monday, Emeka Nnaka announced his candidacy for Tulsa City Council, District 4. The community leader, counselor and motivational speaker jumped into the contest after current city counselor Kara Joy McKee announced she would not seek re-election.
Nnaka announced he would run on June 6th, thirteen years after a tragic football accident altered his life forever. During a game, he suffered a neck and spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the chest down.
In a social media post declaring his candidacy, Nnaka recounted all that has happened in the many years since.
Emeka Nnaka announces for city council exactly 13 years after his life-changing injury
“In that moment, my hopes, dreams, and future were just as fractured as my neck,” Nnaka wrote about the time immediately after the accident. “I vividly remember the fear that would grip me when I even tried to attempt to think of the future and the feeling of loneliness that no one understood my pain. I was starting life all over again and I had no idea how to move it forward.”
The years that followed were filled with both triumphs and setbacks. Nnaka recalls struggling to navigate a city not designed with individuals with physical disabilities in mind. He found access to reliable transportation, quality housing and accessible spaces throughout Tulsa to be difficult at nearly every turn. But Nnaka pushed forward, found a public platform to use his voice in raising awareness and drive change across Tulsa.
After years of painstaking work and perseverance, Nnaka received his Master’s degree and started a career as a mental health therapist. The District 4 resident also currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Tulsa Transit.
Throughout all of the most difficult trials, Nnaka credits the Tulsa community for rallying to carry him through.
Nnaka looks to create a brighter future for all Tulsans
In a statement to The Black Wall Street Times, Nnaka said he hopes to provide everyone struggling with challenges of their own the same opportunities he’s had.
“Since moving to District 4, my quality of life has gone up in ways I couldn’t imagine,” Nnaka said. “I think everyone deserves to have that feeling.”
“There’s a real opportunity to do great things and I want to continue to use my voice to make a difference for Tulsa.”
Nnaka plans to officially file for the seat during the Election Board filing period next week. He will face at least one opponent, Michael Feamster, President of the Nabholz Construction Corporation.
Local businessman Bobby Dean Orcutt announced his intention to run in May. However, on Tuesday morning Orcutt posted he was withdrawing from the race and endorsing Emeka Nnaka.
“I believe [Emeka] has the quality of character and vision I’d want from my local representative,” Ocutt wrote in an Instagram post. “He has my support and I hope yours too.”
The election for Tulsa City Council offices will take place on Tuesday, August 23rd.