• Meet Uzoma Asagwara, a Nigerian-born woman breaking barriers in the Canadian parliament.
  • They* recently became one of the first black people to get a legislative seat in Manitoba, Canada.
  • Business Insider Sub-Saharan Africa takes a closer look at this remarkable woman.

Uzoma Asagwara made headlines when they* became one of the three black people in the 150-year history of the Manitoba legislative to be elected. 

They* won the Union Station seat for the New Democratic Party while the other two game changers — Jamie Moses took the St. Vital seat and Audrey Gordon won Southdale for the Progressive Conservatives.

“This is a historic moment for our team and our communities,” Asagwara told CTV News Winnipeg after her win on September 10, 2019.

They* added that being one of the first black people to be elected in Manitoba was “wonderful…incredible,” and a “sign that folks are really making sure that our elected officials reflect the communities they serve.”

Here are five interesting things to know about Asagwara:

  • Nigerian descent

The 39-year-old politician is a first-generation Canadian born to Nigerian parents. Their* father — Dr K.C. Prince Asagwara — is from Umuahia, Abia State.

  • Comes from a family of achievers

The Asagwara family is full of remarkable people. Their* father is an educated man with a Ph.D., M.P.A., M.A. and B.A. He is also an author and holds several traditional chieftaincy titles.

His children all stand out in their various fields. The first, Chichi Adaugo Asagwara, holds several degrees, the twin daughters Ogechi Ugonma Asagwara and Chinwe Nnebuife Asagwara and the only son KC Prince Obinna Asagwara are also well educated.

  • First of her kind

With this kind of family, its no wonder Asagwara is a history maker. At only 39-year-old, they* has become one of the first three black people to make it to the legislative seat in Manitoba.

The politician is also the first queer black person to be elected in Manitoba in its entire history. Before their* win, Asagwara founded Queer People of Colour Winnipeg (QPOC WPG) in 2014. It is a Winnipeg-based initiative that creates safe spaces, increases the visibility and representation of queer and transgender people of colour.

Uzoma Asagwara has made history as the first queer black person ever to be elected into Canadian parliament (Twitter)
Uzoma Asagwara has made history as the first queer black person ever to be elected into Canadian parliament (Twitter)
  • Athlete and psychiatric nurse

Before politics, Asagwara was a University of Winnipeg basketball star who was named the University of Winnipeg 2006 Female athlete of the year at the annual Wesmen Athletics Award Banquet in 2006. 

They* was also part of the CIS Women’s Basketball Second All-Canadian Team and the first student and basketball star ever at the Saint Nobert’s Collegiate. Asagwara’s jersey has been given a place of honour in the Basketball Court of Saint Nobert’s Collegiate.

The 39-year-old, who studied for a combined Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Psychiatric Nursing, previously worked as an addictions specialist and psych nurse in Canada.

  • A mandate to serve immigrants

Asagwara is well known for their* long years of activism in the communities in Winnipeg. They* hope to use their* new legislative seat to represent the voices of thousands of immigrants and refugees in the Manitoba Legislature.

Asagwara wants to serve people with her new seat (Erin Brohman/CBC)
Asagwara wants to serve people with her new seat (Erin Brohman/CBC)

*Asagwara uses the pronoun ‘they’.