A 2018 graduate of West High School, Obuseh comes from a military family and moved to Madison in 2016 after having lived in Germany for some six years. Her younger brother is about to start his sophomore year at West.
Before Germany, they lived in Delaware, Alabama and Georgia, where Obuseh was born in Atlanta. She said moving a lot as she was growing up taught her the importance of “finding structure within chaos.”
“I’m not the type of person to really get in the mix of things,” Obuseh said. “I feel like I can instead try to create a little bit of order.”
She said even though activism takes up a lot of her time, she is “still 19” and likes to hang out with friends and go outside and paint, and enjoys poetry and TED Talks.
She is a student at UW-Madison exploring her interests in law and healthcare but took some time off in the spring to focus on an internship at the Capitol and other roles, including creating the youth-led group Impact Demand. Obuseh said she and some of her peers who she used to protest with in high school wanted to organize for the Black Lives Matter movement and show the community where youths stand.
Why is it important to get the youth voice out there?
The youth is the future. The youth are the people that are living through all the policies that are being created. A lot of people you see protesting will be the loudest people in the room, or at the Capitol, but not making any legislation. A lot of things don’t get done in terms of writing the legislation and holding people accountable. We have all this energy, and now it’s directed energy towards a purpose. In terms of our group, I helped to spearhead the policy action. We still have a lot more to do and a long way to go, but we’re putting the work in.
Do you find it hard for people to take the youth seriously?
I think people support the youth vocally and make it seem like they take it seriously but not on the ballot where it matters or monetarily. The youth right now has the energy, the motivation and the will to educate themselves and others to make this movement stronger. I feel like if you see somebody younger than you doing something bigger than themselves, that has an impact. A lot of the older generations are coming around and realizing that we need to be able to have the floor. We’ll always need them to mentor and give us advice, but let the youth be empowered. I think that’s the biggest thing right now is just letting us take the lead and allowing us to move with our energy and momentum towards policy.
What are Impact Demand’s goals?
The biggest goal is to see accountability across the board, whether it be in the police department, in hospitals, in housing. Our group, Impact Demand, we demand action. We demand change immediately. I want to see policies in place because we deserve more as a community. Change should be immediate, things like town halls and civilian oversight. At the end of the day, we’re all in this community and all want the best for ourselves. We all want to live equally and live freely, and it takes everyone to do that.