Congressman Butterfield, can you help me meet President Obama?
Kinston Teens' founder Christopher Suggs has a lofty, but achievable, goal - he wants to meet President Obama. He emailed the following statement to his congressman, and chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Representative G.K. Butterfield, asking for his help to make this happen:
Good evening, Congressman Butterfield!
Firstly, I hope that all is well, and as always, thank you for your service and dedication to our state and nation!
I still remember the night of November 3, 2008 and the pride that President Obama’s election gave me. A young, black man was elected as President of the United States, giving me a role model, inspiration and an example of what I would like to aspire to be.
In January 2011, when I was ten years old, I was interviewed by a Kinston Free Press reporter following a MLK Day program who asked me what did I want to be when I got older. My immediate response was, "I want to be the president one day!"
Since that article was published, my career goal of being president has stuck with me every day of my life. In meetings, church services and at speaking engagements, I've been introduced to crowds of hundreds as "the future President of the United States" or "the next President Obama." My friends and classmates refer to me often as "Mr. President" and have even fantasized about our high school class reunion at the White House.
Although started at an earlier age than he, my political career, too, has roots in community organizing. I’ve been very active in my local community since a young age - having organized and led several service projects during elementary school, and advocating for student issues throughout the school district while in middle school. During my freshman year of high school, I founded Kinston Teens, Inc. - a nonprofit organization focused on empowering young people through service, leadership and civic engagement.
As CEO of Kinston Teens, I’ve led youth in my community to successfully advocate for various issues - community beautification, violence prevention, economic development and changes in our local school system, to name a few. Collectively, my team and I have accumulated thousands of volunteer hours since the organization’s inception in October 2014. We’ve been incorporated with the State of North Carolina, and received our federal tax-exempt status right after Christmas. We also have our own office (and we’d love for you to stop by the next time you’re in Kinston, too!).
In addition to my local organizing efforts, I also have some experience on national and global platforms, too. I was recently a guest on The Real, a national daytime television talk show, where I was invited to speak about my community service efforts with Kinston Teens. This December, I was recognized as a 2016 Global Teen Leader by the Three Dot Dash initiative, a program focused on recognizing and supporting the efforts of young people around the world who are working towards creating a more peaceful society. As a Global Teen Leader, I will be provided with a mentor, training and a stipend to assist with the growth of my organization and projects.
I’m excited about what my future holds, and the impact that I can make on my community and the world. It would mean so much to me if you could assist me with my wish to meet the man who inspired my passion for advocacy, service and leadership, President Barack Obama.
Thank you in advance, because I am confident that you can help make this happen!
Christopher J. Suggs