He’s more than a civil rights icon. Ambassador Andrew Young is a game -changer. This weekend The Andrew Young Foundation celebrated the 83rd birthday of its founder, Ambassador Andrew Young, by hosting the first Andrew Young International Leadership Awards.
Ambassador Young smiled and greeted guests and posed for pics, even as he continues to recover from a car crash involving a concrete mixer last week. I planned to go to this event for weeks. It’s one I truly looked forward to because I had the honor of working as the Director of the Andrew and Walter Young YMCA some 7 years ago. So to celebrate the man who has done so much for people, and especially children who need his leadership and guidance was especially poignant for me.
At least 1,200 influencers, officials and celebs joined in the celebration at the Atlanta Mariott Marquis. During the ceremony Ambassador Young spoke in a video about race relations in America and how much we have NOT progressed in the fight on poverty.
“We’ve made enormous progress on race and war, but very little on poverty. In fact, we’ve slipped back on dealing with poverty in America,” he said. “The darkness around us right now is not primarily racial, it’s primarily economics. Let’s not be too simplistic and make everything black and white. That’s really not new.” He talked about when he was beat by white police in St. Augustine Florida in 1964 and said, ” we do ourselves a disservice when we try and say Black Lives Matter…ALL lives matter.”
Ambassador Young was pivotal in the civil rights movement with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and worked for the social, political and economic advancement of oppressed people around the world. Young was an aide to Martin Luther King, Jr. and a thoughtful strategist for some of the most important protests, including the Birmingham campaign and March on Washington in 1963. He was also key in the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery march movement seeking equal rights. Ava DuVernay, director of the movie Selma, spoke to me exclusively on what Ambassador Young means to her. I just checked off a moment from my bucket list. #LoveHer –Check out the video.
Other guests included, Chris Tucker, Civil Rights Icon, C.T. Vivian, Lyfe Jennings, Keri Hilson, Eudoxiee Bridges, T.I. and countless dignitaries, corporate sponsors and guests.
Again be sure to check out the video and some of the pics below!