Featured Peacemaker: Mary-Pat Hector
By John Jajeh
Mary-Pat Hector is a 22-year-old Atlantan native and peacemaker. Her track record of helping her community started at age 12 and has strengthened since. Throughout the past 10 years, she has led and organized hunger strikes to end hunger for college students on campus, organized rallies to eliminate police brutality in communities of color, and has led a national, anti-gun violence campaign called “Think Twice” to educate young Americans about the consequences of using firearms. She continues to share her voice, educate her community, and inspire many to positive, peaceful change.
Here, are some moments where not only was she impacted but she also left an impact on the world:
- AGV: Anti-Gun Violonce
- RCC: Running for City Council
- HS: Hunger Strike
- BVE: Black Voter Efforts
- PP: Peaceful Protest
- OU: Outreach & Education
Grew a non-for-profit community service project called “Youth in Action USA”
“When you think of gun violence, you think of black boys in Chicago or Bankhead,” said Hector, who grew up in a family of activists. “But to become uncomfortable with that, to be moved to action, you have to see yourself. I wanted to create billboards so that people could see themselves, to see it happening to them.”
Launched “her anti-gun violence campaign “Think Twice””
Mary-Pat Hector “placed her anti-gun violence campaign “Think Twice” on 45 billboards throughout the Atlanta area”
She “was also honored with the receipt of the 2014 Global Youth Leadership Award for leadership, service, and will.”
“Young people want to be in involved in politics. They want to see a change within their community, but I think that the political climate that we’re seeing currently in our country has really pushed them to do just that. I believe that young people just need more support from seasoned leaders and others in the community to really say that ‘you can do this!’…. We don’t have a choice. We can’t afford [young people] not to [get involved].”Mary-Pat Hector
“Hector has become a millennial leader for Usher’s New Look Foundation, launched the Think Twice organization to combat gun violence (and won the Peace First Prize for a shock-ad campaign launched through the group), and been recognized by former President Barack Obama for her service to the community.”
Mary-Pat Hector was Fall 2017 Denny’s Hungry for Education scholarship winner and a Hungry for Education ambassador.
“I’m very happy with how it turned out, despite the fact that there was so much going on. We saw hundreds of people say they wanted to be part of that event, to be in that space with us, which we truly appreciate.”
Mary-Pat continues to actively engage with NAN and community engagement – this flyer shows her as a featured guest amongst other distinguished speakers at NAN’s weekly Youth Huddle conversations.
“I think it’s important for us to show [our elected officials] that if you’re tired of the system, the way it is, it’s important for us to go into that system and change it…. Our goal as an organization is to get as many first-time voters registered into the polls as possible…. I want this to be more than a moment but a movement.”
Follow Mary-Pat Hector on Social Media
Note from the Reporter
My pursuit in this project was to learn more about the constructive change in Atlanta’s peaceful protest on May 29, 2020. In conducting more research, I discovered Mary-Pat Hector—a 22-year-old student, activist, and—most importantly–peacemaker. Hector has instantiated positive change in numerous ways within the past decade that has created a significant impact in Atlanta and around the country. I hope this timeline showcases her extensive efforts to spread awareness, involve youthful audiences, and benefit communities near and far. Hector’s story is nothing short of inspirational, and her journey has only begun.
– John Jajeh
Words of Advice from Mary-Pat Hector
“Don’t wait to be great you can change the world now.”
“Democracy plays a major role in my life as a black woman in America. I have no choice but to care about how this works out. Whether it is the presidential election or the election of those on a more local level.”