NJ will be one of the first openly LGBTQ Muslims elected in the United States
Dr. N. J. Akbar is a proud product of public schools as he experienced struggles early on in school. The combination of his limited vocabulary, a lisp, stutter and reading challenges all impacted his confidence in education.
By the third grade, Dr. Akbar attended four different elementary schools, with varying levels of support. Eventually, he finally landed at a school where he was seen as an individual and encouraged to showcase his remarkable potential. With the help of his parents and some amazing teachers (Ms. Deacon specifically), Akbar received specialized support for his speech and reading difficulties. In this supportive school environment, he went from a low 2.0 student to receiving straight A’s! Akbar credits the dedication of his teachers, language pathologist and the unforgiving love of his parents. Despite financial hardships, love was the dominant force for the Akbar family, combined with the assurance that strong educational success possible and the way, even for children living in poverty.
As fate would have it, N. J. would graduate from high school as Salutatorian (2nd in his class). In his senior year, he experienced, along with the rest of the country, the tragedy of 9/11. With a family history of military service and the tragedy of 9/11, he was inspired to join the Army National Guard. In the Army, Specialist (E-4) Akbar served as a Human Resources Specialist in a Signal Battalion (Communications and radio unit) and Military Police Brigade.
Akbar relocated to the Akron area after accepting employment at Kent State University (KSU) in 2009. In the past ten years, he has served in many roles at KSU; he currently serves as Assistant Dean of University College responsible for the academic success of racially diverse, first generation and low-income students.
Since being in Akron, Akbar has become very involved as a volunteer and mentor within the Akron Public Schools district. received several awards for his work at Kent State and within the community that include: 30 for the Future Award in 2015, 2016 Harold K. Stubbs Humanitarian Award in Education and the 2017 Ohio Black Women’s Leadership Caucus’ Significant African American Males award just to name a few.
Importance of Candidacy:
- NJ will be one of the first openly LGBTQ Muslims elected in the United States.