Among the many photos, paintings, portraits and awards in the waiting area outside the former U.S. Ambassador and Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young’s Midtown office is a photo of him in younger days. He has his white shirt sleeves rolled up to the elbow, some papers in his hands and a broad smile on his face. The scene of the photo is the National Mall in Washington, D.C. and from the looks of it there was a rally for human and/or civil rights taking place in the background. Young, a civil rights icon of the highest order, was always in the middle of something. In fact, he still is.

A few days before the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, Young spoke to The Atlanta Voice about Dr. King’s legacy, the audacity of peace on Earth and the World Peace Revival. “Everybody in the world needs peace, the opposite of world peace is hell,” Young said as he shared stories of his time as a peacemaker.

“That’s the thing that Martin Luther King did, he did not destroy any person or property,” said Young. “He said we want to redeem the soul of America from the triple evils of race, war and poverty.”

Young was among the many elected and retired officials at Ebenezer Baptist Church for service Sunday, January 15, on what would be Dr. King’s 95th birthday. United States President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. made a bee-line to greet Young after the president was done addressing the crowd.  

What is the World Peace Revival

The World Peace Revival movement promotes peace and unity through prayer, acts of kindness and shared stories.

A photo of Young in younger days hangs on a wall at the Andrew Young Foundation office in Midtown.
Photo by Donnell Suggs/The Atlanta Voice

Young is in support of the World Peace Revival, but understands the lofty goals are just that, lofty goals. It’s similar to the goals that powered the Civil Rights Movement that he, Dr. King, John Lewis, Ralph David Abernathy, A. Philip Randolph and countless pilots not so many decades ago. “Everybody wants peace,” he said. “They want peace within themselves, but to get that you have to have a certain level of peace with the people in your family and friends. And then you have to have an understanding of how you and your neighbors are going to get along.”

With the World Peace Revival, a movement that Young is supporting, there’s an effort to highlight discussions, prayer, kindness and unity as ways to bring people together. 

“One of the things that we see is when you get kids talking to each other it’s good for everyone involved,” JT Wu, Preface Project founder and executive director and World Peace Revival ambassador said. “What is peace if not trying to get people together. This movement is so important, helping facilitate that.” 

When asked if this country has made progress in regard to peace, Young said it has. “Oh Lord yes. The fact that we have a Black woman on the United States Supreme Court and a Black woman sitting as the United States Vice President,” Young said. “There’s so much going on, we don’t get time to appreciate it.”

A Peace Walk is scheduled for Saturday, April 1 at Rodney Cook, Sr. Peace Park along with the unveiling of a statue of King by Georgia-based sculptors Kathy Fincher and Stan Mullins. 

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Donnell began his career covering sports and news in Atlanta nearly two decades ago. Since then he has written for Atlanta Business Chronicle, The Southern Cross...