A Diasporic Dialogue with Olugbemiga Oluwole
There was a time in the Diasporic story of the Blackman, when the American dream was a long endless nightmare. Those were the days when Africans were forcibly brought into America against their will to work and toil until they were dead. Times have changed and America promotes itself as a land of dreams and opportunities for immigrants. These days Africans pay for their own tickets to come and work and toil in America; if and when they get entry visas in pursuit of “the dream.
Mr. Olugbemiga Oluwole is a Nigerian born American citizen and an employee of the Oakland Private Industry Council (PIC), where he works as a Senior Career Counselor. When I asked him a question about whether he had attained “the American Dream”, he said, “I am alive. I have a job. I have a good family and I have done quite a bit since I have been in this country. I could consider myself as having had a taste of the American Dream.”
“I have come a long way on my journey to the dream and I derive great inner satisfaction in helping others find satisfactory employment,” he continued.
He came here in 1975 from Lagos, Nigeria to go to school. He enrolled as an architecture student at the San Francisco Heald Engineering College. He transferred from Heald to Laney College in Oakland. After receiving his AA degree he attended California State University in Hayward to study Real Estate Development and Mass Communications. While studying at Hayward he moved to Stockton. And, as a commuting student he drove a taxi in between his scheduled classes to earn income to support his family of five. To ease the stresses of being a commuting-working student he transferred to Cal State Sacramento where he persevered to obtain a BA Degree in Government, with honors, for his special focus on international relations.
He moved back to Oakland and started a promotional communications business for cultural and musical productions. “I reinvested my proceeds into cultural and musical promotions, and I was able to produce one of the largest African Cultural events ever presented in Oakland,” he said. That 1988 event showcased musical groups from the entire Black world, from the Diaspora.
He also worked with the Mandeleo Institute, which was run by Dr. Kweku Ladzepko. Despite all of his successes, he said he still had to drive a taxi to make ends meet.
Eventually he decided to go back to school to get his Masters Degree in the Administration of Justice so he could find employment with a livable income.