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Aug. 24, 2022

“I became enamored with this thing called politics” (w/ A'shanti Gholar of Emerge)

If you don’t see any people in power who look like you or come from your background, what do you do? 

For A’shanti Gholar, President of Emerge America, the answer was to jump into the ring herself. From her high school showdown with a candidate for U.S. Senate to her work training women to run for office all over the nation, A’Shanti shares the story of how she took an early interest in politics and turned it into a career helping others.


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To the best of our knowledge, all audio used by What Can I Do is in the public domain or is used with permission. Our theme song is Good Deeds by Serj Anto, and we hold a license for use of the song through PremiumBeat.

Original artwork is by Matthew Weflen and used with express permission. 

A’shanti F. GholarProfile Photo

A’shanti F. Gholar

A’shanti F. Gholar serves as the president of Emerge, the only organization dedicated to recruiting and training Democratic women to run for office. In this role, she leads the organization and steers its overall strategy and direction, overseeing a national staff as well as affiliates across the country.

A’shanti is a nationally recognized political strategist, who most recently served as Emerge’s Political Director, responsible for strengthening national partnerships and working closely with state affiliates to strategically recruit for key seats, as well as directing the organization’s overall political strategy. For over 15 years, A’shanti has been a grassroots organizer and activist for women, communities of color and progressive causes. She has experience in building coalitions, program development and community and political engagement. Prior to coming to Emerge, A’shanti served as the National Deputy Director of Community Engagement and Director of African American Engagement for the Democratic National Committee. A’shanti has also served as the Manager of National Partnerships for United Way Worldwide, as a political appointee in the Obama Administration at the U.S. Department of Labor and as the Director of Public Engagement for the 2012 Democratic National Convention Committee in Charlotte, NC.

A’shanti was named by She The People as one of the women of color in politics who would play an impactful role in the 2020 elections and beyond. She was featured as a political influencer in CQ Roll Call Magazine, named a top woman of color in policy by Walker’s Legacy, and was awarded the “Changemaker” award by African American Women in Business Careers. In addition, A’shanti serves as a Sisters on the Planet Ambassador for OxFam America, an Equity Advisor for Sephora, and as an Advisory Board Member for Global GAIN. She is also the founder of The Brown Girls Guide to Politics, an award-winning podcast that was featured as one of the top political podcasts by Time Magazine, Teen Vogue, and Vanity Fair.