Beyond Léman: Jordan Wright '13
August 09, 2023
An immense love for his long-time home of Harlem helps motivate Jordan Wright ‘13 each day in his role of Yusef Salaam’s Campaign Manager. Recently, Dr. Salaam won the Democratic Primary race to represent New York City’s 9th City Council District; Jordan was a key player in that victory. We sat down with Jordan to talk about the experience of managing such a highly-covered campaign, the advice he has for current students interested in pursuing politics and public service, and how his time at Léman helped shape his career.
Tell us about your journey after Léman.
After Léman I attended Syracuse University where I majored in psychology. College was great for me; I had an opportunity to be independent and discover who “Jordan Wright” is. I tried many new things, some of which I excelled at and a few of which I struggled with - but I was lucky to have always learned something. I was able to develop a camaraderie with students of various creeds and cultures, and was able to study abroad in London for a semester.
After I graduated in 2017, I was at a bit of a loss of where I wanted to go next. After dabbling in a few different sectors, from education to public relations, I eventually landed in politics.
You’re the Campaign Manager for Yusef Salaam, who recently won the Democratic primary race for City Council. What has the experience been like?
It has been the experience of a lifetime.
New York City’s 9th council district is my home of Harlem, New York, and I am thrilled to have been a part of Yusef’s [primary] victory. Yusef is an incredible human being and his story speaks for itself. If you don’t know Yusef’s name or face, you for sure know his story, having been wrongfully incarcerated, and later exonerated, in the Central Park Jogger case.
Managing this campaign was a real culmination of using skills that I have developed throughout both my personal and professional lives. Relationship and team building, task managing, and general organization are three things that have been paramount to the success of Yusef’s campaign.
Harlem has changed drastically over my 28 years living here. New folks have moved in from across the globe, but the soul of the Harlem Renaissance still remains. Galvanizing these new faces to bring about a shift in New York City Council leadership that authentically represents the neighborhood has been a true full circle moment.
Beyond his victory in the primaries, what would you say has been the highlight of managing Mr. Salaam’s campaign so far?
Aside from the victory itself, I would say the highlight has been getting closer to the residents of Harlem. There are many who know me as former State Assemblyman Keith Wright’s son – now they know me as Yusef Salaam’s Campaign Manager. Creating my own name, while also building on the legacy of my family going back to my grandfather, Judge Bruce Wright, is something that motivates me and has kept me moving forward.
Would you say Léman prepared you to take on your current career? If so, how?
Léman prepared me in many ways. I was given the opportunity to attend a Model UN conference in Amman, Jordan as a freshman, and appeared on a citywide TV broadcast to speak about my experience after we returned – talk about being thrown to the fire! Moreover, having the opportunity to create relationships with my classmates who hailed from not just all five boroughs of New York City, but from across the globe, was invaluable, especially at such a young age.
What would you say to current students interested in pursuing a career in politics and public service?
I’d say don’t be afraid to just do it. Start young. Attend your local community board meetings, and don’t be afraid to speak up. Go see your local elected officials and see how you can get involved in their offices. All politics are local, and it's only beneficial if you start early.
Finally, what’s your favorite memory from your time at Léman?
My favorite memory at Léman was the first day of classes at the 1 Morris Street campus. Being a part of the first graduating class was special, but that first day in the building really felt like the start of something truly iconic in the City of New York.