James Wh⁠i⁠⁠t⁠e

January 11, 2023

January 11, 2023

“I grew up in a suburb outside of Atlanta. I have two great parents and we had a great life with a nice house and a dog. I grew up around a lot of people who looked and who grew up like me. I was taught that with hard work and responsibility, you could do anything. I went to school at Georgia Tech and played golf, both in college and then professionally for five years after that.”

“College was the first time I was really confronted with the reality that there are a lot of people who grew up differently than me. While I was there, something just kind of stirred in my heart. There were a lot of people who did not have the same opportunities I had and I wanted to be a part of helping people change that.”

“That is when I got involved in mentoring a student in an Atlanta public school. I’ve mentored him for over six years now. His family is in Section Eight housing in a neighborhood that a lot of people I grew up with said I shouldn’t go to. But I really believe that if we don’t take the time to go to the ‘other side’ and listen, it’s never going to work.” 

 “I get a lot out of the relationship and it confirmed to me how important it is to cross invisible lines to bring people together.”

“By doing this, I learned there are a lot of untrue assumptions I and others who grew up like me make about other people, and vice versa. In many ways, the way you view the world and think about your opportunities affects the way you’re going to act. If you believe something that’s a lie, then your actions aren’t going to be rooted in a foundation that allows you to progress.” 

“I think that is why I keep wanting to talk with people about this. The people living in the neighborhood where my mentee lives actually do have a lot of resources. There’s a lot of government funding. There’s a lot of charity work that goes on in that area. But there’s not a lot of change.”

“If the pervasive view is that you’ve been dealt an impossible hand and the only hope is getting the right politician elected, then nothing is really going to change. If you actually believe that there is no way to get ahead, then why would you try?”

“I would love for America to get back to its original foundation where the politicians work for the people. And they can only work for you if you don’t need them and can take care of things yourself and in your own community. And this type of change happens by people from different backgrounds interacting, talking and learning how much we have in common and how capable we are as a community to make things better.”

James White
Atlanta, Georgia

James White is dedicated to bringing communities together through mentoring relationships. He believes that, through interaction, we can all discover commonalities that will unify America.