Opinion | My African history could shape your American future

This election is not about Joe or Kamala. It’s about the empathetic, inclusive and more effective ways they will govern.
Bo-Machayo-with-family2

My family’s story, like those of so many other American families, begins with immigration. My mother fled Uganda as a refugee in 1984. She was drawn to America because she saw a nation where she could expand her potential – and as a single mother to my three younger siblings and me, she taught all of us that here we, too, could grow, develop and succeed.

Inspired by her courage, I worked hard to follow her example, eventually earning a college degree in America – as a proud graduate of Wake Forest University.

When my family and I look at Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, we see two ordinary people who manifested their own potential and are now willing to bring so many others, like our family, along. We see a woman who understands the pride of being an American while loving her mother’s country and who promised her vote to young women, like my little sisters, who dream of running for president one day. And we see a man who values the voices, ideas and contributions of women and people of color and makes a place for them at the table.

My family is an American family, and we are a part of the African diaspora. America’s African diaspora community is one of the nation’s most diverse, with over 2 million members. As a diaspora member, I see the value Joe and Kamala have placed on reaching out and listening to our community, laying the foundation for the intentional policy platform outlined in Joe Biden’s Agenda for the African Diaspora.

In a Biden-Harris administration, we can trust the experiences of our families will be respected and represented. When we have voices at the table who recognize that love for America and empathy for the rest of the world are not mutually exclusive, we can once again be proud to work toward the “American Dream.” And the dream the Biden-Harris administration will advance will be rooted in a foundation of responsible governance, bolstering peace and security among nations, ensuring equal treatment for women, and combating climate change.

With this ticket, we are guaranteed the opportunity to push proposals that will help Black communities. I have seen firsthand through my mother’s experience as a small business owner many of the barriers that keep some Black Americans from achieving their dreams. Joe’s Build Back Better plan recognizes the status quo does not serve all communities. Biden-Harris’ commitment to advance racial equity by increasing access to capital will ensure individuals and organizations are no longer restricted by their ZIP code and have access to capital and affordable education.

Bo-Machayo-with-family
Photo courtesy of Bo Machayo

We also must return to an immigration policy built on the principles that inspired my parents and other African immigrants to make their homes in America. While my parents knew America guaranteed nothing, they understood they would not be targeted or refused a place of refuge.

Finally, as members of the African diaspora understand well, our foreign policy strategy concerning Africa’s continent needs a bold re-orientation that reaffirms our commitment to democratic institutions and speaks against violence – like the current fight in Nigeria to #EndSARS and police brutality – all of which is addressed in the Biden-Harris plan.

This election is not about Joe or Kamala. It’s about the empathetic, inclusive, and more effective ways they will govern. This ticket is living proof of my family’s values. I am proud to cast my vote for Biden-Harris, and I urge other members of the diaspora to do the same for the future of our country and the countries from whence we came.


Bo Machayo is a first-generation AfricanAmerican and the son of Ugandan and Kenyan immigrants. He is a proud graduate of Wake Forest University, where he studied economics and international political affairs. He is now an external affairs and public policy professional working to civically engage the African Diaspora.

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