May 16 was an exciting day for 38-year-old Adjowa as she voted for the first time in an American election, casting an early vote in the Georgia primary. Originally from the West African nation of Togo, Adjowa has lived in the United States for nine years and became a naturalized citizen in December 2016. For Adjowa, coming to America was a necessary sacrifice and she left family and familiarity behind to have access to employment, education and democracy. She began voting in Togo at age 23 but felt that her vote had little impact as the same family has ruled the country for more than 50 years.
Adjowa first enrolled in the IRC's English and Civics classes almost four years ago and has celebrated many achievements along the way. Her dedication to learning English was always deeply connected to her dreams of becoming a U.S. citizen and voter. “Voting is more than a right, it’s a responsibility," she told IRC English instructor, Bridgette Jenkins. "If you are a citizen, it is your responsibility to vote. I plan to vote again in November to elect the new Governor of Georgia." The IRC's English and Civics classes on local city and state governments provided the foundation Adjowa needed to be an informed voter and she used her phone to further research the candidates on the ballot.
Adjowa currently works at the Varsity Dinner as a dining room attendant and short order chef, sometimes doing both jobs in the same day! She continues to attend the IRC's evening English and Civics classes to improve her English and connect to career and education opportunities. After achieving her dream of becoming an American citizen, her new goals are to pass the GED test, further her education and advance in her job. Adjowa recently earned her Georgia driver's permit and hopes to soon take her driving test—we look forward to seeing all that Adjowa will achieve in the years to come!
To learn more about the work of the IRC in Atlanta and for information on how you can get involved with the IRC as a donor or volunteer, please contact Development Manager, Kalie Lasiter, at Kalie.Lasiter [at] Rescue.org or 678-636-8941.