The William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation is giving lessons in leadership and they're using Medgar Evers' legacy as a starting point. High school students from across the state are members of the institute's first Youth Congress.
"They had everything they needed to change the world to reflect what they want it to be," said William Winter Institute Program Director Von Gordon. "We just needed to allow them to see it in themselves and see a good example of what it looked like from a young person. Medgar Evers is that."
The institute is partnering with the Evers family to host the event and pay forward the legacy of the slain leader.
"For them to see in him the courage that it takes to lead, the capacity it takes to lead or certainly the skill to lead, and then being able to follow through with what your strategy is," explained Gordon about the example Evers set.
And the young minds came ready to collaborate.
"I hope that today I can be truly motivated to help other people in my community," said participant Natlene Vonchalee.
"Leadership is extremely important and we need to learn a lot about that if we are going to progress through history," said student Robert Blaine.
Students will be provided the necessary resources to chart a path of how they want the Magnolia State to look.
"They'll be creating a platform to present to their leaders both local and statewide with their vision of what the state of Mississippi should look like from a policy perspective," said Gordon. "So it's not kind of pie in the sky but it's where lives are lived."
Organizers say the topic of the policy is up to the students. But it will have a spotlight on pushing for positive social change.
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