My name is Mohamed Jafar. For fifteen years, I have been proud to call Burlington home. I was seven years old in 2003 when my family moved to the United States through Vermont’s Refugee Resettlement Program. My family is originally from Somalia, due to civil strife and violence, my parents moved to Kenya where they applied for the lottery to be resettled in the West. By a stroke of luck, my family’s application was advanced and we were set up to resettle in the beautiful state of Vermont. My family was one of the first three families to settle in Vermont through the resettlement program. My family has grown since our arrival I now have 10 younger siblings, seven of whom were born here in Burlington.
I am a graduate of the Burlington School system: Champlain elementary school, then Edmunds Middle School and I graduated from Burlington High school in 2014. I attended college at a small private school; Colby-Sawyer College in New Hampshire. During my last semester, I had the humbling opportunity to be a Federal Policy Researcher for a nonpartisan research institute in Washington D.C. During that time, I experienced first-hand the engine of our law making system and the day-to-day proceedings of congressional activity on Capitol Hill.
In May of 2018, I returned to my home, Burlington. Currently I serve on Burlington’s Board for the Registration of Voters, The Destination BTV Advisory Council; the Vermont branch of the United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), the Community and Economic Development Youth Advisory Board, the Ward 5 NPA Steering Committee, and the Sudanese Foundation Board. Additionally, I serve on an informal youth leadership group called Building Blocks to Success, started by myself and my peers to identify at risk youth in the New American community that may benefit from mentorship and guidance in many capacities.
Building Blocks to Success is the most important commitment to me because it is near and dear to my heart as someone who has had to navigate the waters of a new culture, and balance dual identity. One of my biggest accomplishments is spearheading an initiative to make voting more accessible through an implementation of interpreters at polls and interpretation technology in the new electronic voting systems.