Belema Idoniboye joins the UpTogether team after a varied career in government, the nonprofit sector, and the labor movement. His professional experience includes, among other assignments, work on two presidential campaigns, in the federal government as a special assistant to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, legal work at a large nonprofit international sports organization and one of the nation’s largest labor unions, and varied academic research covering race, history, international affairs, religion and culture, domestic public policies, and the law. Prior to joining UpTogether, in his previous role at a national worker center, Belema’s involvement in legal and policy analysis, advocacy, and formulating policy demands was instrumental in spotlighting the essentiality and historic and contemporary undervaluing of the nation’s retail workforce and lobbying federal officials to adopt an occupational safety and health emergency temporary standard and other progressive measures for underappreciated workers in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Belema’s legislative drafting and research was also vital to the introduction of progressive guaranteed severance and increased layoff notification legislation in two states, and setting the framework for essential worker task forces at the federal and state levels.
Belema holds a Juris Doctor degree from William & Mary Law School. While in law school, Belema served as a Notes Editor for the William & Mary Journal of Women & Law (now the William & Mary Journal of Race, Gender, and Social Justice), a Tournament Justice on the Moot Court Board, and a Graduate Research Assistant. Upon his graduation, he was awarded several commendations, including awards for his efforts on diversity, public service, and community engagement and the George Wythe Award, which is awarded annually to one graduating law student in recognition of his or her outstanding and selfless service to the Law School community. Belema also holds a Master of Public Policy from the George Mason University School of Public Policy and a Bachelors of Arts with honors in political science and communication studies with a minor in international studies from the University of Iowa. During his graduate studies, he spent a semester at Mansfield College, University of Oxford, studying globalization challenges and earning a certificate in “Britain, the European Union and the Challenge of Globalization.”