Kemi Akindude is a native New Yorker committed to serving others, and working towards a better tomorrow.
Kemi was born and raised in Staten Island, New York. She witnessed her parents working tirelessly while putting themselves through school in order to pave the way for a better future in America for Kemi and her siblings. As the daughter of Nigerian immigrants and a first generation American, the value of hard work and education was impressed upon her from an early age. At 10 years old, Kemi started her first job helping her brother with his paper route for the Staten Island Advance. With 8 mouths to feed, Kemi saw the hardships her parents endured and the sacrifices they made to provide. She set out to put herself through school independently, earning scholarships and working three jobs in college in order to pay her school fees.
Kemi is a proud graduate of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel-St. Benedicta School, as well as the Gateway Honors Program at Port Richmond High School. She went on to graduate from Syracuse University’s PreLaw program as a CSTEP Scholar and SMART grant recipient. She is also an alumna of the Davis School of Russian’s Summer Immersion Program at Middlebury College. She later became a Scholar in Law at Washington University in St. Louis Law, where she earned her JD and received the CALI award in International Taxation as well as the Dean’s Public Service Award. During her third year, she studied human rights law as an exchange student in Northern Ireland. In 2017, she earned a Master of Science in Education Policy from the University of Pennsylvania.
Kemi has always been a leader, and heavily involved in any community she is a part of. In college, Kemi was an elected Assemblywoman with the Student Association, a University Senator with the Syracuse University Senate’s Academic Integrity Committee, and a contributing writer for the Daily Orange newspaper. She was also a member of the Debate Society. During law school, Kemi was elected as President of the Christian Legal Society, an officer of the Black Law Student Association, and co-founded the Women of Color Law Society. She also served as a Senior Staff Editor for a law journal during her third year. These experiences during her early years helped Kemi gain an understanding that both patience and determination are needed when tackling problems. She continued to serve in her local communities as well.
From spending summers serving with mobile legal clinics in impoverished neighborhoods to going to juvenile detention centers in order to teach incarcerated youth their constitutional rights, Kemi has devoted her life to advocacy and service to those in need.
As a volunteer tutor for Somali-Bantu refugees in 2012, Kemi dedicated her time to helping the community adjust and assimilate into a new life.
In 2013, Kemi advocated for immigrant families as a legal intern at a NY-based immigration clinic. She witnessed again first hand the limitations that these communities face, both socially and economically, and helped facilitate the legal process for DACA recipients. In 2014, Kemi fought for the rights of minority communities to peacefully protest as a Legal Observer during the Ferguson Unrest in St. Louis, Missouri. Through this experience, she saw how important freedom of speech really is in a country rife with inequalities. During her time at the University of Pennsylvania, Kemi worked for a local educational nonprofit, and committed herself to improving educational opportunities and outcomes for underserved students. After graduation, she spent two years working in the education sector in South Korea while working remotely as an education consultant for an NYC-based nonprofit committed to helping minority students navigate the college admissions process.