My name is jeff obafemi carr, and I am a native son of Nashville, TN. My wife and partner in all great things is Kenetha, who is a graduate of historic Fisk University. We have 5 children (I know, right?). 4 of them currently attend 3 different public schools, and we are proud of that.
I was born at Meharry’s Hubbard Hospital, the second of three children to working class parents in South Nashville near Sevier Park. Although my parents only finished 6th and 10th grades, they instilled in us the value of an education, which we pursued in Metro Public Schools. My brother, sister, and I are the first in our immediate family to graduate from high school and college, and that path wasn’t always easy.
I ran into a bit of juvenile trouble, made some bad grades, and hung out with the wrong crowd, ending up with an expulsion from school that made me get serious about life. I enrolled in Tennessee State University, where I became a student leader and eventually was elected President of the Student Government Association. I led a nationally-publicized sit-in that brought attention to inequity in funding for TSU, and resulted in over $120 Million dollars being spent to improve the campus.
I guess you could say that was my first Capital Improvement campaign.
Graduating Cum Laude with a degree in Speech Communication and Theatre and a minor in Mass Communications, I worked full time in youth development and community services at the legendary Edgehill Center, under the guidance of James R. Threalkill. In my spare time, I started a community newspaper with my elder brother, Greg, two good friends, and a young pre-law student named Anthony “Van” Jones. We all said we’d change the world in our own way one day, starting at home. We were major advocates that helped push through the merger of Meharry Hubbard and General Hospitals.
That was my first foray into issues of Public Health.
Just over a decade later, after a bi-vocational career in media, the arts, and writing, I stretched my legs for a couple of years and lived in New York, where I enjoyed navigating public transit and expanding my experiences with people from all over the world. I returned home to start a non-profit arts organization called the Amun Ra Theatre, dedicated to providing opportunities for especially young people. We began a Youth Performing ARTs Academy, designed to teach kids how to act out on a stage instead of on the violent streets. Over the course of nearly 10 years, I’m proud to say we never lost a kid. 100 percent of them graduated high school and attended college.
That explains my heart for addressing the issue of Youth Violence.
I’ve always been called to bring people together across political, cultural, racial, religious, gender, orientation, and socio-economic lines. My personal spiritual journey afforded a wonderful opportunity to do this with the founding of The Infinity Fellowship Interfaith Gathering in 2014, with my wife. It sounded crazy to start an interfaith church in Nashville, where people of all backgrounds would gather around the concept of commonality and doing good in the world, but it’s worked wonders.
After one year, we noticed that Affordable Housing was an important issue in Nashville, and with the city mowing down homeless camps from the riverfront to Ft. Negley, someone had to do something, so there I went again. I moved into a 60-square foot Micro-Home built by Dwayne A. Jones Construction, and I lived there alone for 45 days to raise awareness and money (I don’t like to wait on taking action, if you haven’t figured that out by now). We raised over $60 thousand dollars from donors all over the place, and promised to build a village of 6 homes within 30 days of funding.
We completed the village in just 10 days, working around the clock, and in August of 2015, we delivered Nashville’s first Micro-Home community to those who needed it the most, for free, without a dime of taxpayer dollars.
I know something about Affordable Housing.
I’m running for Mayor because my home city needs leadership that is experienced in dealing with the issues that are facing us now. We don’t need a legislator or someone who gets mired in the political process. We need stability. We need an executive who has proven experience in leading and decision making.
We need a leader with vision to help pull this city together across the lines that threaten to divide us; someone with a heart for the people.
I look forward to, with your help, returning this city to the citizens.
jeff obafemi carr