Andrew Young School of Policy Studies
Taos Wynn (M.P.A./J.D.) sometimes walks or – depending on time – runs from Georgia State University’s campus to the Georgia State Capitol, the Richard B. Russell Federal Building, or even to hold a meeting with Congressman John Lewis in his office on Peachtree Street.
This routine has become necessary for balancing the demands of pursuing a dual degree while leading his nonprofit, the Perfect Love Foundation. In the fall of 2017, he made the decision to enroll for a very specific reason.
“Learning public administration and law to be a better advocate for those in need, that was my goal in coming to Georgia State,” said Wynn, the two-time recipient of the Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award for Volunteer Service presented by the Georgia Senate. “I was very intentional about coming to the Andrew Young School because of its namesake, and I wanted to learn his principals.”
Wynn’s principals – and the work of his foundation – are based on the idea that everyone matters, everyone deserves respect, and everyone can make a difference. “I would love for people to see my life as a testament to those three things.”
Even before becoming an Andrew Young School student, Wynn was a student of Ambassador Young. He studied his local and international political contributions and poured over his book, An Easy Burden.
He felt a special connection to Ambassador Young’s work within the civil rights movement.
“Being civic-minded and aware of some of the challenges that existed from a societal standpoint was something our family grew up with,” he said. Wynn recalls learning that his mother, Elaine Wynn, was the first to integrate her elementary school in Swainsboro, Georgia during the 1960s. He also recalls hearing stories and experiences shared from his great, great aunt who was born in 1903 and lived to be 104 years old. “She would reminisce and share the struggles of her relatives who experienced slavery. It was amazing.”
This profound understanding of the necessity of overcoming adversity is one of the inspirations behind Wynn’s Millennial Civil Rights Campaign, an effort to protect human and civil rights while providing tools to help people participate in all aspects of the democratic process.
“I’ve found that people do want to engage, but they may not know how to,” he said. “Our goal is to create inclusive spaces of hope, where people feel as though their voices matter, and they can participate and make a difference.”
Wynn notes the campaign is an intergenerational effort that connects participants of all ages for the purposes of creating meaningful change.
He admits he sometimes wonders how to continue to tackle tough issues like racism. He finds comfort in a recent visit to Ambassador Young.
“The greatest piece of advice he said to me was, ‘We didn’t have a blueprint for this, it starts with you and what you feel like God has led you to do,’” he said.
Wynn is definitely adding more plans to what appears to be a massive blueprint.
His newest initiative within the Millennial Civil Rights Campaign is the Free Democracy Tour, set to launch on November 16 with Georgia State University as the first stop. It will bring nonpartisan tools of the democratic process to the front door of colleges and universities throughout the country.
Photo Credit: Reginald Duncan