VOICES: Black History Month through the eyes of a young, Black leader

Note from Community Impact Editor Amelia Robinson: Kevin Jones hopes to one day serve his community in public office because he thinks he can make a difference. “Kevin will never be dormant. He always has something to do and it’s always to the benefit of his community and others. He’s really hard working and extremely passionate about whatever he does,” said Wright State University Student Body President Adrian Williams said of Jones, a 22 year old Wright State grad. Contributor Makenzie Hoeferlin asked Jones, vice president and chief communications officer of Central Ohio Young Black Democrats, about the importance of Black History Month. This piece will appear on the Ideas and Voices page Sunday, Feb. 14. Find links to related columns below.

Q: Considering the recent attention on racial issues, does Black History Month hold a different meaning or higher significance to you?

A: It has become more significant, in a sense, because once again we’ve had an opportunity to create history. We created history with President Barack Obama and now with Vice President Kamala Harris.

Q: Why is Black History Month so important to younger generations?

A: Growing up Black we don’t get taught our own history by the teachers. And so, throughout those 13 years of life where we’re going from (kindergarten) to 12th grade, we’re not learning Black history and we’re sure as heck not learning the significance of being Black as a young man or young woman.

Q: When you were younger, what were some of the things you wish you had been told?

A: Growing up Black you don’t understand and get taught the significance of building wealth. We understand potentially saving, but we don’t understand the groundwork behind it like building wealth, the importance of credit and learning how to tie a tie.

Q: What do you think are some of the biggest issues or obstacles for young African Americans today?

A: We need to address our educational systems. Too many times we allow young African American males and females to throw in the towel when it comes to education. In addition, we need to address our accessibility to resources such as health care. I think that the most important thing we need to address is bridging that wealth gap.

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Q: How has your ethnicity, background or heritage influenced your career decisions or goals for the future?

A: I was taught about power figures like Martin Luther King Jr., Thurgood Marshall, Andrew Young, John Lewis. Looking at these figures who happen to be African American, who happen to be true shakers and movers of their time. They truly inspired me to go down my path of servant leadership. I’ve always had a passion for politics and I think that came from lack of representation when I was growing up.

Dayton Daily News contributor Makenzie Hoeferlin is editor-in-chief of the Wright State Guardian.

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