Imani Oakley runs, vows to represent FilAm neighborhoods in Congress

A campaign dedicated to lifting working-class communities in New Jersey’s 10th Congressional district.

Imani Oakley is a progressive candidate running for Congress in New Jersey’s 10th Congressional district which is home to a growing Filipino American community as well as the Five Corners Little Manila neighborhood in Jersey City.

Born in New Brunswick and raised in Montclair, Imani has lived on the same street her entire life, despite the rising cost of living and nearly losing her childhood home to foreclosure.

A statement describes how Imani mother supported their family as a preschool teacher in East Orange and Newark while raising Imani as a single parent. “Imani’s family’s story is the same as countless other families trying to make it in New Jersey.  Struggling to make it in a system that remains stacked in favor of those with political connections and wealth, they fought to ensure their place in this state.”

After graduating high school, Imani was able to attend Howard University and New York University. Like so many across the country, she had to take on nearly $500K in student loan debt just so that she could achieve her dream of becoming an attorney for the public interest.

Oakley’s FilAm campaign manager Maita Lockhart. Photo by Nonoy Rafael

Since passing the New Jersey Bar exam in 2017, Imani has gone on to work in public service for almost half a decade. Immediately out of law school, she became a constituent advocate in the U.S. Senate where she helped New Jersey residents with housing and other issues. Imani then served as a Deputy Chief of Staff in the New Jersey State Assembly, the Legislative Director for the New Jersey Working Families Party, and the Dean of Movement Building for Movement School where she helped teach people from marginalized communities how to run political campaigns.

“Her time working in New Jersey political spaces has made one thing clear: our state suffers from rabid corruption. Her campaign is dedicated to ending this system and lifting up working-class communities,” says the statement.

Imani’s campaign is focused on housing affordability, implementing a Green New Deal, and establishing a Medicare 4 All universal health system.

In addition to running in a district with a large FilAm community, Imani’s campaign is also being managed by Maita Lockhart — a Filipino-Arab American and a former host on The Filipino Channel.

“I support Imani because her values and goals are the same as our community’s values and goals,” Lockhart said. “As a first generation FilAm, I know how important immigration justice, healthcare justice, and racial justice are to the FilAm community in New Jersey and across the country. Imani is the champion we need for these issues and I’m honored by her dedication to the FilAm community here in the 10th Congressional District.”

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