A Lambert High School sophomore who recently joined the board of a national campaign aimed at addressing race issues in America served as an aid to Ohio Gov. John Kasich at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day event earlier this month.
Remington Youngblood, a 15-year-old Forsyth County resident and president and founder of student-led nonprofit Change 4 Georgia, or C4G, and members of his organization spent the evening at The King Center in Atlanta helping with a panelist talk on the holiday two weeks ago.
The event, “Let’s Bridge the Racial Divide Across Urban, Suburban and Rural America,” was the first in a series of “Beloved Community Talks: The Race Factor,” a speaker series campaign aimed at healing “the racial disconnect” and cultivating “peace and justice across urban, suburban and rural America.”
Notable panelists included Bernice King, MLK’s youngest child, Alveda King, MLK’s niece, and Kasich.
Other panelists included a former Ku Klux Klan member, social entrepreneurs and community activists.
“I really enjoyed serving and being there – at such a special place – on MLK Day,” Youngblood said. “The message the panelists had really resonated with me; I completely agree that we do need to bridge the racial divide [in America] and we need to start working as a team and working together as Americans and as people and not as races.
“We need to start conversations [about race] and anyone, regardless of political party, should agree with that message.”
Youngblood said he first got a call in mid-December inviting him to be a part of the planning committee for the Beloved Community Talks series.
“I accepted and went down to Atlanta and had the first meeting and [members] discussed what was going to happen at the event,” Youngblood said. “They would discuss race issues – not just in communities but in America as a whole.”
Youngblood said at Monday’s event C4G volunteers largely served as speaker attendants, which is how he served Kasich.
“It was an honor serving Gov. Kasich – that was very cool,” he said. “Definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Youngblood’s membership on the talk’s planning committee is also fitting, given C4G aims at improving community well-being.
“We do a lot to help out around our community,” Youngblood said. “We help military veterans, their families, and we have five main initiatives: literacy, homelessness, military, environment and senior citizens.”
Youngblood started his organization in 2011 at age 10 after being told he was too young to volunteer in many places.
“When we first moved here, I was like, ‘[this is] a new place, a new county, new people — I want to do something to help out,’ just to get involved in the community as soon as we got here,” he said. “I called about 15 different places but because I was 10, they all said age was an issue.
“That was disappointing, but I didn’t want to stop there, so I [said] ‘well if I can’t help out anywhere, I’ll start my own organization where I can help.’”
So far, Youngblood and his organization have collected more than 215,000 books for C4G’s literacy initiative as well as thousands of pounds worth of goods, cards and letters to send to troops overseas.
For more information on Change4Georgia, visit change4georgia.org/, and more information on the Beloved Community Talks can be found at thekingcenter.org/.