MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Walking down the halls of White Station High School, senior Marissa Pittman has a lot on her mind.
She has thoughts about the future and the role she plays in her community.
Pittman said she became interested in politics at a very young age.
“I used to watch CNN with my parents and I still do,” Pittman said.
“I just realized a lot of different things that happen in our community whether it’s state, it’s local, or it’s national they boil down to politics.”
That’s why Pittman founded Pumps and Politics 901.
The organization encourages young women of color to become involved in their community through political action.
“I think it’s egregious to call something justice or fair or democracy if everyone is not equally represented,” Pittman explained
“If the government is supposed to be for the people than it should be for all people.”
Pittman created the group her freshman year.
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The organization is successfully encouraging girls to run for office, partner with elected officials, and curate social media campaigns.
“So, my first event was at City Hall,” Pittman said.
“It was sponsored by Councilwoman Patrice Robinson. My mentor State Representative London Lamar actually came too and we talked about why young women don’t get involved in politics, some of the barriers that are there and some resources that are there to help them run if they want to run.”
Pittman is now getting major recognition for her work.
She is one of five recipients who will receive the prestigious Keeper of the Dream award.
The National Civil Rights Museum (NCRM) and International Paper honor young people in the Mid
South who have demonstrated a commitment to ensuring equal rights and opportunities for others.
“Their involvement, their decisions around how they want to live their lives and how they want to present themselves as adults are really critical at a young age,” Faith Morris, Chief Marking& External Affairs Officer said.
With this award, Pittman said she is determined to keep the dream alive.
“Almost how Dr. Martin Luther King Jr made sure if there was a problem or when he saw racist systems were in place, he tried to fix them,” Pittman said.
“That’s what I want to do on a state, local and national scale.”
After graduation, Pittman plans to attend a Historically Black College and major in Political Science.
The 17th Annual Keeper of the Dream Award will be presented on October 30.
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