Lennox Yearwood, Jr.
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"Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr., is a minister, community activist and organizer, and one of the most influential people in Hip Hop political life. Rev. Yearwood works tirelessly to encourage the Hip Hop generation to utilize its political and social voice. He currently serves as President and CEO of the Hip Hop Caucus, a national, award-winning organization that engages young people in elections, policymaking, and service.
"Rev. Yearwood works with celebrities and athletes to engage them in projects that transform communities. He was a co-creator of the 2004 campaign “Vote or Die” with Sean “Diddy” Combs. He was also the Political and Grassroots Director for Russell Simmons in 2003 and 2004, and a Senior Consultant to Jay Z’s “Voice Your Choice” campaign. In 2008 he created the “Respect My Vote” voter mobilization campaign with Platinum Grammy winning recording artists T.I. and Keyshia Cole.
"Rev. Yearwood is known for his activist work as the National Director of the Gulf Coast Renewal Campaign, in which he organized a coalition of national and grassroots organizations to advocate for the rights of Hurricane Katrina survivors. He led the first march in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in November 2005, to protest the racial profiling of survivors in the days after the storm. The march led to convictions of officers who denied basic human rights to African-American families. The following year the Gulf Coast Renewal Campaign successfully pushed back FEMA’s preemptive temporary housing evictions of Katrina Survivors, through public mobilization, two marches in Washington, DC, testimony to Congress, and a public relations campaign. This work earned the Hip Hop Caucus the prestigious 30th Annual Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award.
"Rev. Yearwood is also an important leader in the peace movement as an outspoken critic of America’s wars abroad. He was an Officer and Chaplain in the U.S. Air Force Reserve when he first spoke out against the invasion of Iraq in early 2003. In 2007 he led a national “Make Hip Hop Not War” Tour, linking the issues of the wars abroad with the violence in urban communities at home.
"Rev. Yearwood has taken the environmental movement by storm. Van Jones, author of the Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems, has called Rev. Yearwood the Hip Hop Generation’s version of Dr. King. In 2009, the Hip Hop Caucus launched the “Green the Block” campaign from the West Wing of the White House, with partner organization Green For All. Rev. Yearwood helped climate activist and author, Bill McKibben, organize an international day of Climate Action called 350.org. They co-authored the article “People, Let’s Get Our Carbon Down”. Currently he is preparing to lead a national bus tour on climate with Al Gore’s organization, the Alliance for Climate Protection.
"Rev. Yearwood, was born in Shreveport, Louisiana. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of the District of Columbia in 1998 and was awarded a Master of Divinity from Howard University in 2002. He was elected to student government president at both schools.
"Rev. Yearwood has been seen on CNN, BET, MTV, BBC, C-Span, Fox Business, PBS, Hardball with Chris Mathews, and featured in the Washington Post, the New York Times, Politico, VIBE, the Source, the Nation Magazine, and many other mainstream, progressive, and Hip Hop publications. He is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and can be heard often on NPR. He was named one of [[Utne Magazine]s “50 Visionaries”, The Source Magazine’s “Power 30”, and a top ten contemporary African-American thinker by the NAACP’s Crisis Magazine. "