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2018 CUNY Birthright Alum, Akeem Frett

Having the chance to explore my cultural roots and legacy of innovation within NYC, DC, and Ghana was life-changing! Growing up in a multigenerational family in the Bronx, my family instilled me with values like a need for honest introspection, the value of education, and a drive for excellence. While I excelled at school, things at home would take a different turn. Right after graduating high school, I made the decision to put off college and help care for my 6-year-old brother to support my mother who was overcoming a health condition​. When my mother’s health improved, I enrolled in the City University of New York (CUNY) Hunter College to study accounting, returning to the New York of my childhood and working nights at Apple’s 24-Hr Genius Bar. Despite some success, remembering the strong values and community I was raised with, I still sensed a lack of support for young professionals like me. An email from CUNY’s Black Male initiative regarding the Birthright AFRICA mission would change that. ​Birthright has given me a sense of community similar to my family values where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts​. This whole now includes a connection to my ancestral roots in Africa. Because of Birthright AFRICA, I have found that my greatness and potential go far beyond racial boundaries. I am self-affirmed and fearlessly blazing my own career path.

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