Ras Runs In Bridgeport

From time to time, Staples High School graduates run for public office. Some do it in Westport; others, wherever they’ve moved to.

Few of them want to serve in Bridgeport. Ras Omari does, and for a very good reason: That’s his hometown.

Omari McPherson, Staples High School Class of 2004.

Growing up there — when he went by the name Omari McPherson — he attended local schools. But he was selected by lottery for the Open Choice program. He got up early every morning, and was bused to Staples High.

He nurtured his love for recording, film and web development there. But after graduation in 2004, he majored in mechanical engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

He added a master’s in marketing and technology innovation. In 2010 Omari joined Verizon’s Network Leadership Development program as an engineering project manager.

In his spare time, he worked as a photographer and videographer.

Feeling stifled and unfulfilled by his career path, Omari left corporate America. In 2014 — with his wife Juliana and newborn son — he moved back to Bridgeport. His journey of self-discovery and entrepreneurship was underway.

Today Omari is the founder and director of Vizier Media, a digital marketing consultancy specializing in “thought development, creative direction and content engineering.” He’s a dedicated husband, and father of Shiloh and Kaya.

And now a candidate for Bridgeport City Council. His 131st district includes downtown, the South End and part of the West End.

Ras Omari

Since returning to the Park City, he told Lennie Grimaldi’s great “Only in Bridgeport” blog, he’s realized it holds many hidden gems, waiting to be uncovered.

He stayed away from the city’s famously notorious and messy politics. But — hoping for insights into local issues — Omari attended last month’s City Council candidates’ forum. He was “uninspired” by both the dialogue, and the quality of candidates on stage.

He asked himself why Bridgeport is — and has been — run the way it has, for so long. After digging deep into the budget and downtown development projects, Omari realized it was time to step up.

He launched his write-in campaign.

“I believe this city’s turnaround hinges on a new generation of leaders who are thoughtful, productive and can come up with tangible solutions to problems,” he told Grimaldi.

“Politics in Bridgeport don’t have to mean the same ol’ same ol’. The ‘Write-in Ras’ campaign is about putting the power back in the hands of the people, and side-stepping the machine.”

Ras Omari in downtown Bridgeport. (Photo/Gary Pivot)

He does not want to fight “pettiness.” He aims to “inform, include and inspire a new generation of artists, entrepreneurs, and bright young professionals to take an active role in the future of the city.”

Tomorrow, Staples’ former Open Choice student hopes to give Bridgeport voters an open choice too.

 

10 responses to “Ras Runs In Bridgeport

  1. Wow. What a smart hard working guy. I wish him all the very best. I wish I could vote for him……

  2. Ellen Lautenberg

    Fantastic! Thanks for sharing this story!

  3. As someone who has been an engineering prof., I can tell you that this must be a smart guy — he has a degree in ME from a very good school.
    ADW Staples 1956

  4. As a faculty member at HCC I’ve come to appreciate Bridgeport as an important city with great potential. It has a rich history and beautiful architecture. Bridgeport needs people like Mr. Omari.

  5. Good to learn about Ras and I wish him luck.Yes I am a Bridgeport voter but live in a different district therefore I cannot help him win with a write-in vote. I urge him to get in touch with Howard Gardner, currently on Bridgeport BOE and running for re-election under Working Family Party endorsement. Ras can find me on FB, Twitter or Linked in. Last name Janensch.

  6. Wish I could vote for him at least once. Bridgeport has a lot to look forward to, as we all do, if young people like Ras step up to be counted. Good for you, Ras.

  7. Peter Jennings Talbot

    Good for Ras! Exactly the type of forward thinking leadership Bridgeport needs. It is definitely a tarnished, unpolished gem awaiting rediscovery. It only takes some imagination , courage, and determined collaborative voices to get the momentum started. I have heard and seen what was, and it would be wonderful to see what it could be again.

  8. Holly Wheeler

    Good luck today, Ras!
    My father worked for a Bridgeport manufacturing company his entire life, and although I grew up in Fairfield, I certainly spent lots of time (and several years working) there. I loved being in the city as a kid. Bridgeport had a pulse and an energy that was exciting. I hope you can bring it back, Ras!

    Thanks for this story, Dan!

  9. Audrey Doniger

    After all the signs and phone calls and bios of ALL the candidates running in Westport..I finally found the one who won my vote…Ras is the one…wrong town,I know but he is well beyond any other candidate in heart and accomplishments…Good luck to you Ras….