Born and raised in the Midwest, I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. I’m the descendant of the emancipated slaves of John Meaux. When John Meaux died in 1828, he freed his slaves and gave them his land. My grandparents, Ambrose and Garnetta Meaux, were the last to work the land given to those who were freed.
My parents, Clement and Geraldine, were also remarkable people. Dad led the fight to integrate his high school in rural Mercer County, Kentucky, in the 1950s—an unbelievably courageous act, especially in that part of the country at that time. He was a decorated Army veteran, who earned a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star for his service in Vietnam. Using his GI Bill money, he went to college and was one of the first Black electrical engineers to graduate from University of Kentucky. Then he got an MBA from Xavier University. He designed aircraft engines and was an entrepreneur. Mom grew up picking cotton. She was the epitome of warmth, generosity and community, welcoming people to our home every Sunday after church. She worked tirelessly to help those in need find affordable housing through her job at the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority.
Mom and Dad worked hard to provide a solid, safe middle class lifestyle for us, and they were so proud that they gave us more than they had growing up. They also taught my sisters and me about the honor and responsibility we have to give back—to do what we can to support and lift up others. They always gave whatever they could to those who needed help. They were the best role models a child could have, and I do my best every day to honor them and pass along those same values to Ava and Xavier.
I went to Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, where I was an All-American Athlete and All-American Academic. I led the Campus Y tutorial program, was elected to Student Senate and was chosen as captain of the Track & Field team. Most importantly, though, I met Genevieve. It was love at first sight—for me anyway! We ran track together, and one day I finally ran fast enough to catch up to her. We’ve been together ever since—going on 28 years. She’s my wife and partner in every sense of the word.
After graduating from college with high honors, I went to the University of Virginia School of Law, where I was chosen for the prestigious Congressional Black Caucus Fellowship. During my time on Capitol Hill, I had the privilege of working for Donna Brazile, former chair of the DNC, and Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.). While there, I worked on housing and early childhood education policy.
After law school, I started my legal career in Washington D.C. at Skadden Arps in 1999. I also provided free legal services to federal inmates who were being denied their right to continue their gender transition. I fought to have their constitutional rights restored. In partnership with the National Fair Housing Alliance, I advocated for people who had been denied fair housing. Ensuring everyone has a stable and safe home has been a commitment of mine ever since I saw Mom dedicate herself to that cause.
I say that all the best things that have happened in my life have happened because of Genevieve—of course she’s the greatest wife imaginable, and then there’s Ava and Xavier— truly am the world’s proudest husband and father. Living in Minnesota is one of the other best things in my life, and Genevieve is the reason we’re here. We came here in 2008 for her job at the University of Minnesota. She’s a practicing surgeon, professor, and informatics professional. She’s also the Chief Data and Health Informatics Officer for Fairview Health Systems, where she leads Analytics and Care Innovation for M Health Fairview.
We’ve lived in many places including D.C. and New York City, but Minnesota is absolutely our home. The sense of community we have here is unlike anywhere else. I’m grateful that we’re raising our children here and know we’ll be here for the rest of our lives. Call me biased, but Minnesota is the greatest place in the world!
After we moved here, I practiced law for several years in Minneapolis, and then led the global employment practice at St. Jude Medical, where I wrote the company’s first gender transition policy. Two years ago, I decided to follow my passion of bringing people together to solve difficult problems. I started my own mediation practice. As a mediator, my role is to work with people who can’t find their way out of conflict, listen to them, and help them reach a resolution. It’s the most rewarding professional work I’ve done.
Children’s Law Center— I volunteer my services to help children in foster care. There is nothing like seeing deserving kids find their forever families!
Salem English Lutheran Church— We love our progressive sanctuary church in the Whittier neighborhood! We attend as a family and I occasionally give sermons at Salem, as well as perform weddings and baptisms.
I’ve also been honored to serve on the boards of College Possible, Page Education Foundation, Northrop at University of Minnesota, the Guthrie Theater, the Conflict Resolution Center, and Lake Country School.