RESULTS Outreach - Heading South
Last week I went out on an amazing outreach adventure to the deep South. I had never been to any of the cities I visited and I was thrilled to talk to new people in new places. The areas I visited are specifically important for RESULTS U.S. Poverty outreach, since all four states, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas are 2014 Bonner Summer Leadership Institute Conference. It was a fantastic couple of days providing two workshop sessions to some of the smartest, most engaged, and inspiring students I've ever met.
From there I drove to Birmingham, Alabama, the home of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and site of the 16th Street Baptist Church where a bomb killed four little girls and two boys in the ensuing chaos. It was a place humming with history and plenty of folks willing to have a great, albeit random, conversation with me. While there, I met our RESULTS Global group leader there, Cale Campbell who gave me the scoop on his hometown and the urgent need for action on both global and domestic matters.
Saturday found me in Jackson, Mississippi where I stumbled across the Fondren neighborhood toted as Jackson's “hippest nabe” and indeed, there were plenty of cool kids in “Everybody VS Jackson” t-shirts eager to learn about poverty in their communities.
On Sunday, I traveled to Little Rock, Arkansas, where I met up with our REAL Chang participant, Tamara Bates. What an incredible person and amazing tour guide. She's a Biology student at Philander Smith College, wise beyond her years, dedicated to making a change in the world, and oh, did I mention she plays the drums?
I want to say thank you to all the new friends I made along the way, all the folks who gave me their time so I could get some perspective on a place that is far from where I am from or live. While there are many differences between the North and South, there are so many commonalities between us as well. We all have a voice and RESULTS can train and support us to use that voice effectively to end poverty here in our home, America. Poverty is a solvable problem. Let's work together to create opportunity and economic mobility for all of us. If you know anyone in the above areas, please contact me at [email protected]; I’m happy to talk to them.