Growing up in DC, Robert was surrounded by tight-knit family members who worked hard to make ends meet. Robert loved to play sports, ride his bike, write, and spend time with his siblings and cousins. An inquisitive young man, his parents provided him the room to be imaginative and independent while also stressing the importance of social justice and compassion towards others.
When his mother, Tamara, was diagnosed with breast cancer, Robert had to grow up faster than he had planned. Tamara unfortunately passed away when Robert was only eight years old. Just one month later, Robert was nearly killed in car accident on New Hampshire Avenue. As a result of these two life-changing events, Robert developed a heightened sense of responsibility towards his family and his community.
At age 13, in order to help support his family, Robert got his first job sweeping a barbershop floor on Kennedy Street. At the same time, he worked day and night to catch up to his peers after missing significant amount of school due to the car accident. It wasn’t long before Robert began to excel in his studies. With his families’ encouragement and his own personal determination, Robert became an honor student at Archbishop Carroll High School and went on to attend St. Mary’s College of Maryland. At St. Mary’s Robert studied Philosophy and Political Science, going on to be the first in his family to graduate from college. He completed additional studies at prestigious Oxford University in England as well as in West Africa. He returned to the US to attend law school at the American University Washington College of Law in his home city.
Robert’s professional life began as a law clerk in the District Court for Montgomery County, Maryland. Wanting to use his education to give back to his beloved home city that was beginning to rebound following decades of depression, Robert went to Capitol Hill to serve as Legislative Counsel to Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, DC’s representative in the U.S. Congress. Robert served as a lead staffer on Congressional oversight hearings related to the District. He drafted legislation to loosen Congress’ grip on the DC government and give greater autonomy and independence to DC residents. This background in drafting legislation, coordinating services, and building bridges will reap major benefits for all city residents in the years to come.
While on Capitol Hill, Robert recognized the hard truth, being that some people were not getting a chance to join in DC’s renewal. Robert resigned in order to run for an At-Large seat on the City Council in the 2014 election with the knowledge that he would use his experience and his passion to make a positive impact in the lives of the less fortunate amongst us.
Robert’s first run for DC Council At-Large was a strong campaign of volunteers who shared the fundamental belief that DC must be more equitable and compassionate for all. Robert earned key endorsements from City Council members both past and present (such as Kenyan McDuffie, Yvette Alexander, and David Grosso), major media outlets such as The Washington Post, citizen’s groups, labor organizations, business associations, and more. These people all recognized Robert’s ability to act as a bridge between the DC of old and a progressive vision for the future. Despite Robert’s campaign bid ultimately being unsuccessful, he earned over 22,000 votes from those who recognized his passion and energy towards the promise of a stronger, more equitable city.