He's just 13-years-young and only in the grade, but already making moves. Elijah Lee, a Halifax County native, has been spending at least three years fighting for change in school and his community.
"Just because I am young does not mean I can stay silent," Lee said in a virtual interview with ABC11.
Young Elijah caught the activism spirit when he was 10-years-old and learned of a classmate who suffered from abuse at home.
"That put a burden on my heart," said Lee. "They would go home to a parent that saw them differently than an innocent and vulnerable child. They would go home to a parent that didn't care about them. And that hurt me more than anything."
That event led Lee to start a march for victims of child abuse, where hundreds of people attended.
"To see so many young people who were ready to pick up the torch and fight along with me, it showed me that there are people out there ready to use their voice," he said.
Lee has since been recognized by NAACP chapters across the country and has even been honored as one of America's Top 20 Teens by Nickelodeon and TIME Magazine.
Lee's contributions to the development of a pediatric safe room at Vidant North Hospital in Roanoke Rapids will be revealed on Mar. 6.
"To the people that say that I'm only 13, I want to remind you that these are the issues that you put in place for my generation to fight. And I, personally, rather fight them now than having to worry about the next generation having to go through them as I once did," he added.
Nearly two hours away on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill, Greear Webb, a 20-year-old political science and African-American studies double major, is making a name for himself.
As the co-founder of NC Town Hall and Young Americans Protest, Webb has been active in the social justice sphere.
"Young people have been on the forefront of every social justice movement in this nation," said Webb. "So I tell folks it's never too early to start."
Webb was appointed by Governor Roy Cooper to the Statewide Crime Commission, is a member of the Raleigh Police Advisory Board and part of UNC-Chapel Hill's Commission of Campus Equality and Student Equity.
His photo album features a Who's Who of Political Figures from Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Governor Cooper, and then-Presidential candidate Joe Biden.
"At first I thought there was going to be a barrier between my generation...and the older generations," he said. "But they're actually very inspired by our work and willing to lend their stories to the movement and the cause. Because we're not in a moment right now, we're in a movement. And I believe young people are going to be the true catalyst for that change."
Webb hopes to attend law school after he completes his undergraduate degree and is still deciding how he will make a change.
"I love helping people," he said.
North Carolina's youth making a difference in schools, communities
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