Exclusive Interview with Nkechi Taifa

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nkechi Taifa.

It’s an honor to speak with you today. Why don’t you give us some details about you and your story. How did you get to where you are today?

I am Nkechi Taifa, a visionary thought leader and nationally recognized expert and commentator on race and justice issues. I have been on a quest for justice my entire life — wrote a best-selling memoir about it, as well as several children’s books that were later banned, delivered a riveting TEDx talk, and penned scores of scholarly articles and white papers. Actor Danny Glover has called me a brilliant lawyer and an extraordinary champion for justice. I have been lauded in Essence Magazine as one of 100 Woke Black Women Advocating for change and have been described in People Magazine as planting seeds for future generations. I got to where I am today through perseverance, dedication, and hard work.

I’m sure your success has not come easily. What challenges have you had to overcome along the way?

There have been many challenges throughout my life — race, sex, colorism, ageism, and what comes along with refusing to compromise my authentic self. I have been challenged with jealousies, obstacles, resentment and naysayers but I have been thick-skinned, tough and tried to keep my head held high. I also struggle against the need for perfection standing in the way of just getting the work done.

Let’s talk about the work you do. What do you specialize in and why should someone work with you over the competition?

As a civil and human rights attorney, scholar-activist, and author, I specialize on issues at the intersection of race and justice. I am the president of The Taifa Group LLC, founder and director of the Reparation Education Project, Inc., and serve as Senior Fellow for the Center of Justice at Columbia University and am a 2023 Harvard Kennedy School scholar. I am convener emeritus of the Justice Roundtable coalition and have served as an appointed Commissioner and Chair of the D.C. Commission on Human Rights. I am an inaugural Commissioner on the National African American Reparations Commission and a founder of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America.

When folk work with me they gain the background, experience, wisdom and passion of someone who has organized both in the streets and the suites, and in the trenches and in the penthouses. That is empowering in and of itself!

What’s your best piece of advice for readers who desire to find success in their life?

My advice for those seeking success is to believe in what you do, with all your heart and soul. On good days and bad. When you are laughed at and when you are taken seriously. Whether you are an insider or outsider. For it is the belief, the faith in a cause that matters, and is seen, heard and endures beyond time and space.

Speaking of success, what does the word mean to you?

Success for me is the beauty of sitting under the shade of trees I helped plant decades ago, with the warm knowledge that a new generation has picked up the mantle in our ever-evolving struggle for freedom that is lighting the way to victory.

Success is the happy feeling of knowing that a long overdue reckoning on race is being called for throughout the country and the world. Success is being involved in history-in-the-making!

What’s next for you?

I’d like to spend some quality time intentionally engaging in some much-needed self-care, wellness, healing and reflection to maintain a proper balance of body, mind and spirit. I’d love to lounge on a beach or mountain top and provide counsel to the next generation. Back in the day we called Movement work, “The Struggle.” I guess that is because that is what we were doing – struggling literally from sun-up to way after sun-down, long after our regular 9-5’s. Another dream of mine is to use my expertise to consult on a movie and/or other creative theatre/television project about the era and people that influenced me, those in the part of the Black Power movement whose names and deeds were swept under rugs and basically erased from books and mainstream society.

Finally, how can people connect with you if they want to learn more?

For more information people can visit my several websites:

www.NkechiTaifa.org for The Nkechi Taifa Experience
www.ReparationEducationProject.org for information on the issue of reparations
www.TheTaifaGroup.com for my consulting services.

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