From the Civil Rights era to public education and voting gains in the 1980s to today, each generation of young Mississippian has been called upon to lead transformative change in the state. Making change in democracy is hard and requires each generation to step up and heed that call.

Based on cutting-edge data research, Ours To Change is founded on the principle that by engaging more voters aged 17-39, with shared values and a clear vision for the future, we can be empowered to vote and engage in the processes and policies that shape the future of our state.

In the coming year, we’ll work across the state to create opportunities for young voter registration, engagement, and turnout with an ultimate goal of giving young Mississippians a powerful voice in Mississippi’s governance.

Mission

Ours To Change Mississippi will increase voter engagement and turnout among 17 to 40 year olds. We will engage young voters to enthusiastically opt in to the political process by providing hopeful solutions and address shared values that bring us together.

Vision

Ours To Change envisions a Mississippi where engaged young voters vote in every election: city, state, and national. They engage with representatives to the point where politicians actively court young votes by creating policies that improve the quality of life for the young population. This will in turn improve the attractiveness for modern business, improved education, and a more vibrant economy to support young people to stay and contribute to Mississippi’s quality of life.

Team

Terry Hunt

Executive Director
As a lifetime public school educator, I know the impact that education has in determining the future of both individuals and the community. The only long term solution to breaking Mississippi’s ongoing cycle of poverty starts with strong public schools. Charity, while well intended, is not the solution. Ours To Change Mississippi’s goal is to work toward a lasting solution.
I featured the following quote by Nelson Mandela in the center of all my classrooms to instruct and inspire myself and my students:
“It (Poverty) is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.”

Lisa Potts

Lisa PottsOutreach and Program Coordinator

When I came to Mississippi with Teach for America, I immediately felt overwhelmed by the specific challenge of teaching art and creative thinking to over 1,200 students living in extreme poverty. As I taught, I keenly learned the need for transformational policy changes to help my students reach the great potential I saw for them. And I realized I wanted to be an integral part of making the necessary changes a reality. OTC has allowed me to use my passion, skills and talents to enact that real change.

Kynnedi Taylor-Henry

Outreach and Program Coordinator

Over the past year, my faith has led me to discover a new path for my future, one that reflects my values of servant leadership and humanistic principles. I joined Ours to Change to help develop the OTC Women in Leadership program, which helps train and empower aspiring public officials and community leaders.

Josh Starr

Multimedia Producer

Since moving to Mississippi, I’ve found many varied and diverse communities have given me a home. Their unique perspectives and storied lives inspired me to be a journalist. As the staff multimedia producer for OTC, I am eager to use my journalistic experience to help voice the ideals and insights of the young Mississippians, who are fighting for the future prosperity of the state.

Samantha Holland

Outreach and Program Coordinator, North Mississippi

As a native Mississippian, I grew up witnessing first-hand the impact of poverty that permeates this state. As the daughter of a public school teacher and an attorney, I grew up watching my parents educate, help, and defend as many people as they could reach. I was raised to believe that poverty can be overcome with a strong support system and the opportunity of a good education. Ours to Change is giving me the opportunity to help break the cycle of poverty by working to support strong public schools for all Mississippians.

Kathryn Rehner

Women’s Leadership Coordinator
I’m a native Mississippian, social worker, community organizer, and a pragmatic optimist who believes that change can happen for people and within systems—even in Mississippi. Through these experiences, I have seen firsthand how government works for people but also how it can hurt them. Because of this, in October 2017 I ran for Mississippi House of Representatives to put people first. Although I lost, I gained valuable experiences and built relationships that have positioned me to continue my work as a social worker and as a public servant in my new role as Women in Leadership Coordinator for OTC. I enter this new chapter on May 14 and I am grateful for the opportunity to fight to make Mississippi a better place for all of us.

Catherine Gray

Contributing Writer
As a kid, I never thought I would stay in Mississippi. Then when I was a senior in high school, I began working for a local newspaper in the city of Jackson, collecting stories of change, hope, and progress. My eyes opened to richness of culture around me as well as the immense need and many challenges within the state. I discovered I wanted to be part of steering Mississippi toward progress. As a contributing writer for Ours To Change, I use my experience and passion to write stories that inspire other young Mississippians to find their voice and improve the quality of life of everyone in our state.

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Deputy Director / Voting Coordinator and South Mississippi Director
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