On Being a Champion of Change
Ki’tay Davidson is a student at American University completing a joint MPA/BA in Public Administration and Law and Society. More importantly, he is a social justice advocate attempting to be a pioneer of possibility. His focus is on the incubation of social innovation specific to the realm of international disability policy. Within this pursuit, he focuses on community integration, social entrepreneurship and economic empowerment.
Outside of academia, Ki’tay is an active member of the AU Debate Society and Disability Rights Coalition. He has a strong commitment to racial justice and queer advocacy and has worked extensively on AU’s campus to create a more inclusive environment for people of color and the LGBTQ community. He regularly leads workshops at local universities and high schools in the D.C area on the disability rights movement, ableism and social justice in relation to disability rights. Post-college, Ki’tay will pursue a career in disability policy and social enterprise.
Ki’tay is completing his Youth in Development (YiD) internship at Handicap International, which is an independent and impartial aid organization working in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster. The YiD internship program placed its first cohort of seven interns with various international organizations in the Washington, DC, area this summer. All YiD participants are students with disabilities from across the United States who share a commitment to careers in the fields of international development or international affairs. The YiD program is coordinated by the U.S. International Council on Disabilities (USICD) with funding support from Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation (MEAF). On July 25, 2013, one of the first YiD interns–Ki’tay Davidson–was honored at the White House as a Champion of Change on the 23rd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Champions of Change were honored as emerging young leaders furthering the goals of the ADA. In this blog post, Ki’tay reflects on the meaning of being a “Champion of Change”.
Connect with Ki’tay Davidson via his LinkedIn profile at: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/ki-tay-davidson/45/320/7a7
Sometimes, life really does take you by surprise. Today, I am incredibly thankful. Thankful, for every individual working, struggling and fighting to make this world a better place. Forget the clichés, I mean that in all its seriousness. The injustices of our society are deeply rooted and it is easy to become complacent, fatigued or entitled. The people who have surrounded me have fit none of these descriptions. Indeed, I have habitually been surrounded or surrounded myself with powerful advocates, lovers of people. They have come in all roles, from my mother, to my college roommates- each have used their existence to advocate for the betterment of all.
As you see, when I say advocates I don’t mean individual who have completed degrees in Sociology or Political Science (though these people are incredible). What I mean is anybody and everybody who realizes the world is bigger than themselves and channels that awareness to level the playing field. I mean radical lovers. People, who can acknowledge their privilege, acknowledge their opportunity and consciously and intentionally use their existence to transform communities.
“Radical simply means grasping at the root.”
I’ve always loved that quote and today it speaks volumes. I realize I’ve won a prestigious award, but today it isn’t really about me. It is about the community and I am simply a singular representative of thousands of folks who give their hearts and their time to living a life of transformation.
In essence, I want to say congratulations. Thank you to all the champions I’ve met and have yet to meet, the ones who have encouraged, listened, affirmed, fought and loved, along sides our beautiful community, the human race. Together, we have made change and will continue to. As my fellow, YP4 fellows would say,
“It is our duty to fight. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and protect each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”
The struggle is real, but we are one and the chains are getting weaker.
Congratulations on being champions of your community.
All my love,