Updated: Feb 25, 2020
"I made it as a first generation, low income Black kid from Sacramento that no one thought would make it out of Sac, let alone see the shores of Africa and walk the halls of the White House."
Dominick Williams works as a Paralegal in Oakland, California and is passionate about politics, positivity, and self-determination. We got a chance to pick his brain on his values, life story, and goals for the future.
“I want to be able to look back at my life and say that I helped my community, anyone that has not received a fair shake in life. I feel that if we all sought strength, love, and growth we would truly be better individuals and therefore part of healthier communities.”
What are you up to currently?
I currently have a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, graduating cum laude. As a college student I began to blossom. I carried a personal mantra: Strength. Love. Growth. These three things made me mission-oriented, striving to help people while also ever-hungry to learn and improve myself. With an interest in politics and self-determination, I majored in Political Science and minored in Economics. I’ve served on statewide organizations fighting for student rights and social issues such as free higher education, private prison abolition, affordable food and housing, Black self-determination, and police accountability. I’ve met with legislators, and U.S. Senators and Congress members all to convey a message and agenda of power, equity, fairness, and justice. I made it as a first generation, low income Black kid from Sacramento that no one thought would make it out of Sac, let alone see the shores of Africa and walk the halls of the White House. I’ve done things I never thought anyone like me could.
Where did you come from and how did you get to where you are now?
I was born in Vallejo, CA and I moved to Sacramento where I was raised until I left for college. Out of all of my close friends, I was one of the few to have a dad in the home as well as a mom. Growing up my dad bounced around to different jobs after filing for bankruptcy when I was 4 years old, and my mom has been a Sales Coordinator for Bay Alarm for over 10 years. I’m the oldest of three siblings, and the only boy.
Who are your personal heroes?
My personal heroes were my dad and Malcolm X. My dad always told me to just be better than him. He instilled in me a character of humility, hard work, strength, and patience.
Personal fun facts or passions?
Most days I prefer to watch movies. I love anime. BLACK PEOPLE WATCH ANIME. I play basketball on the weekends, and I have plenty of friends that are aspiring to be rappers. I hate when people squander the joys in life by being ungrateful for the privileges they have.
What's next on the horizon for you?
I’m currently working as a paralegal in Oakland [for] the Law Office of John Burris. I plan to work here for a year, then start the Capitol Fellowship Program in Sacramento, which is heralded as the “golden ticket” to becoming a staffer in the California State Capitol. After that, I want to go to Berkeley Law and pursue a joint JD and MPP.
What do you want to leave behind?
I would be lying if I said I did not envision myself leaving a legacy. I want to be able to look back at my life and say that I helped my community, anyone that has not received a fair shake in life. I feel that if we all sought strength, love, and growth we would truly be better individuals and therefore part of healthier communities. Young men like myself are told time and time again that we are incapable of making change either in our own lives or in others both explicitly and implicitly. We are told this by our TV screens as well as sometimes our elders. But I believe one of the few reasons I was able to break through that barrier is that I sought to ask why. Why can’t I be a lawyer or economist? Why can’t I escape South Sacramento? Why are you telling me to be like you rather than believe in myself?
I heard recently from Dr. Shirley Weber, a CA Assemblywoman representing San Diego, that positivity is like a flower in a garden. It must be cared for and nurtured in order for it to grow. And one day it may very well blossom. But if you neglect your garden, the flowers do not just die. Weeds begin to grow. And those weeds are hatred and negativity. We must actively, constantly, and consistently work on ourselves and our society to maintain what we want to see and be the change agents that we desperately need.