EP 28 | Helping Communities Play Bigger with Onikah Asamoa-Caesar
Written by Tracy Spears on May 2, 2023
When you decide to play bigger, you can create a positive impact that ripples far and wide and empowers others to play bigger, too. In this episode of Shift Out Loud, I speak to someone who has built the heart of her community — and works every day to keep it beating strong.
Onikah Asamoa-Caesar is the founder and owner of Tulsa-based Fulton Street Books & Coffee, which she created as a safe space for Black and Brown people to build community, change their city through civic discourse, and increase intergenerational literacy. Before opening this incredible space, Onikah worked on criminal justice policy initiatives under the office of Colorado state senator Mike Johnston, then helped to launch the George Kaiser Family Foundation’s Birth through Eight Strategy, which focused on creating a cycle of opportunity for Tulsa’s most vulnerable families.
During this conversation, we dig into the importance of inclusive spaces, the nuances of effective allyship, and the beauty of loving your identity.
Ready to play bigger? Listen now to discover:
- Why Onikah chose to return to the United States after falling in love with traveling
- Why she decided to open a bookstore in the middle of the pandemic — and how her space vitally serves her community
- How Onikah will continue to shift out loud and create an amazing impact in Tulsa and beyond
Guest bio: Onikah Asamoa-Caesar is the founder and owner of Fulton Street Books & Coffee in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Fulton Street Books & Coffee was created to center the stories, narratives, and lived experiences of Black people, Brown people, and marginalized communities.
03:05 Meet Onikah Asamoa-Caesar
05:28 Loving Black Identity
07:04 Traveling as a Black woman
10:44 Returning to the States & Teach for America
15:59 Evolving life’s work
19:23 Why open a bookstore?
25:53 Expanding in Tulsa International Airport
27:15 The Ally Box & Book Club For a Cause
30:55 What’s next?
33:34 Family history
38:38 Little & Lit