Jamall Kinard is a young professional in Charlotte filling many roles, from dedicated volunteer to neighborhood leader. He helps lead projects coordinated by United Way’s Hands On Charlotte and serves as president of the Lakewood Neighborhood Alliance, a community supported through United Way’s United Neighborhoods Block Building Grants.

 

United Way’s Young Leaders sat down with Jamall to learn more about how he’s making an impact in our community.

 

Q: Are you from Charlotte? If not, how long have you been here? What do you love about it?

 

A: No, I am originally from Newberry, SC. But, I have been in Charlotte for 10 years now, so it definitely feels like home.

 

Although, it took a lot longer than what I expected, I love the connections that I have made with the people of Charlotte since I’ve been a resident here.  I have made some lifelong friendships here in the Queen City!

 

Q: What are three words you’d use to describe yourself as a community volunteer and leader?

 

A: Intentional, efficient, resourceful.

 

Q: What is your involvement in the Charlotte community—past and current?

 

A: I have been involved in the community in various ways throughout my time in Charlotte—an educator, coach, program director, global shaper, advocate and president.

 

After having the opportunity to attend a two-day training at Race Matters for Juvenile Justice last September, the way I viewed the world completely changed. My eyes were opened and I began to see that there are greater challenges that needed to be addressed.

 

I am currently serving as president of the Lakewood Neighborhood Alliance where we are currently implementing our 3 Year 3E Strategic Plan—engage, educate and empower. The purpose of this plan is to engage, educate and empower people like myself on the grassroots level to have a voice and to have our voices heard.

 

Q: What is your motivation behind getting and staying so involved?

 

A: Everything that I do is for the discovery of the truth about our history, knowing and understanding how it affects our present and learning so that we can figure out how to plan for our future.

 

I truly believe that once we have recognized the falseness of the “old” American story, then we will begin to write a “new” one together. One that doesn’t involve race or economic class. One that is structured as a network of peers/neighbors rather than a chain of command. One that truly allows America to be a place of evenly spread equity and access to opportunities for all.

 

Q: Why do you think it’s important for young professionals to get involved in their communities?

 

A: Young professionals have to get involved in the community so that we can truly create commUNITY! Communities are meant to be diverse, therefore if young professionals choose not to get involved then that would cause a huge gap in community engagement and leadership development.

 

As a result of this gap, historic communities in Charlotte are becoming an afterthought and being transformed due to gentrification, decreasing the opportunity to have communities to get involved in.

 

Q: What would you say to a young adult who is hesitant or even uninterested in community involvement/volunteer service?

 

A: “What affects one of us directly, affects us all indirectly. I cannot be what I ought to be if you don’t become what you ought to be. You cannot be what you ought to be unless I become what I ought to be,” said Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Simply put, do your part so that we can make history now, together!

 

Are you a young professional looking to get involved in the Charlotte community?

Learn more about joining Young Leaders and the group’s upcoming events like the Cornhole Tournament.