Casimere was one of 30 students selected nationwide for an internship with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Leadership Institute for Public Services, which helps develop the next generation of minority leaders in public service at the federal level. During his internship with a member of Congress, Casimere will learn how to identify a problem in the community, understand the complexities of the issue, find resources to address the challenge, and develop solutions. This may include drafting a sample bill, fact sheet, or policy brief or participating in community service projects, team events, or activities.
Casimere knows the harsh reality of growing up in a socially-disadvantaged neighborhood. He was raised in Longview by a single father, an Army veteran of Desert Storm who passed away when he was a sophomore in high school. Sadly, he lost his little sister to brain cancer and his grandmother to breast cancer two years after his father passed. Casimere has suffered many loses but he refuses to give up. He was surrounded by gangs and violence during his childhood, but opted for education and community service instead.
His favorite quote is by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross which reads: “The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
“These incidents have shaped me into the man I am today and motivated me to make a change within the world,” said Casimere. “Above all, I wanted better for my family. I never allowed others to fill my head with disbelief. If anything, the negativity projected me to focus even harder on my goal to graduate and gain acceptance into a prestigious university.”
Casimere was awarded a full academic scholarship to Abilene Christian University to study criminal justice, where he was actively involved on the football team. In Spring of 2014, he transferred to Sam Houston State University and hopes to pursue a career in criminal law. He was not aware of the challenges he faced due to transferring from a private institution to a public university.
Overall, the curriculum was different, and he had to study diligently to earn back his credits that he lost due to transferring. Over time, Casimere networked with many campus officials and took advantage of the programs that SHSU had to offer. Casimere has been active in the National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice; the Center for Law, Engagement and Politics; and the Exceptional Men of the Talented Tenth Inc. The organization that has impacted him the most was the Talented Tenth because they uplift young men and teach them how to be great leaders as they strive for excellence. The group stands as a light for people of uncertainty and helps to educate, enlighten, and empower the community, he said.
Casimere said his internship will put him in the heart of Washington, D.C. during the 2016 Presidential Election, which features the first woman nominated by a major party to serve in the top political job in the country. He hopes to make a difference for those living in poverty.
“I feel like it’s going to be a very historic time, with the Democrats nominating Hillary Clinton as the first female Presidential candidate,” said Casimere. “I want to help people living in low income areas by affording them with more resources to move up the social ladder, more specifically I want to help Congress to fix perceived errors in the Criminal Justice system.”