So blessed to be a part of history by being granted my citizenship, my birthright, to Sierra Leone on the inaugural African Ancestry Family Reunion experience!
On April 29, in State House, Freetown, I along with 59 other African Americans who traced their origin to Sierra Leone through DNA were conferred Sierra Leonean citizenship by His Excellency President Dr. Julius Maada Bio.
“We welcome you to acquire land, live in our communities, invest, build capacity and take advantage of business opportunities,” said President Bio during the citizenship conferment ceremony.
Upon being adopted at birth, I’d always dreamed of reconnecting with my birth family. In 1988, I found my birth parents living less than 30-minutes away in North Jersey and an older sister in North Carolina. She has since reconnected with a total of 10 biological siblings. Learn more in my interactive and inspirational memoir, “From Jersey to Me: The Awakening & Healing of a Goddess,” which chronicles my life as an adoptee and the lessons learned during my evolution to become myself.
In 2007, I took an AfricanAncestry.com DNA test to determine her identity. AfricanAncestry.com is the Black-owned pioneer of ancestry tracing for people of African descent, having helped more than 750,000 people reconnect with the roots of their family tree.
As an adoptee, it was important that I find my identity. Discovering that I am of the Temne people of Sierra Leone, then visiting and placing my feet on the soil of my ancestral grandmother’s homeland, fills me with pride. Being welcomed ‘home’ to reclaim my birthright is priceless and makes me feel more connected to myself.
The people of my ancestral tribe, the Temne, warmly received me and named me, Rukoh Karbogh Tasso, which means “leader of the people.” True to my new name, I plan to take President Bio up on his offer and become a contributing member of society. I encourage every African American to take the AfricanAncestry.com test and consider citizenship as an option, specifically as the racist climate in America intensifies.
Visit africanancestry.com for more information on the next trip.