Community activist and organizer Marie Mott said she has been notified that she was accepted into the Harvard Emerging Leaders On-Campus Program slated for May 8-13 at The Harvard Kennedy School.
Ms. Mott said she "has been at the forefront of the 2020 Black Lives Matter protest, public policy change, and inspiration for young black natives that you can be an agent of change.
"In the community, Ms. Mott has worked diligently in her role within the Hamilton County Chattanooga NAACP Chapter as Chairperson for Civic Engagement.
She spent months working closely with President Ann Jones-Pierre and other Executive Board Members to bring awareness to American Rescue Plan dollars awarded to the city and county for the economic repair of the under-served black community. She also revitalized a conversation highlighting the displacement of black Chattanoogans out of the city at a city council meeting that has sparked further conversation into solutions for gentrification."
She said, "I am so excited to have the great honor of representing Chattanooga in such a prestigious program. I remember staring at the screen for minutes and then calling my mother and crying on the phone with her.
"There is no way I would have ever been able to have this opportunity without my community. So many people have believed in me and invested into me along the way. I owe it to my city to show that being black is beautiful and we can do absolutely anything we put our mind to."
She said she "embodies Malcolm X's ascertion that 'There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance next time.'
"As the first African American to break through this glass ceiling, I am grateful to God, my fellow activists, my mentor, and every person who's had a hand in my development. Thank you to my beloved parents, family, and the Harvard alumni that encouraged my candidacy and journey.
"I cannot wait to learn, network with young emerging leaders from all over the world, and walk the same campus as the Ancestor W.E.B. DuBois. This is for all of us and I want to come back home with vital information we need to inspire a new generation of leaders in Chattanooga.”