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North Texan Channing Hill Is NAACP's Youth Activist Of The Year

EULESS, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - An America where character counts more than color, is a journey that great leaders began, but left unfinished.

Now, a new generation of activists stands poised, empowered, and ready to stand on their shoulders.

"It's kind of interesting to me to look across to my peers and see us following in the same footsteps and just furthering and deepening that timeline that was set by MLK and Malcolm X and Angela Davis," says Euless' Channing Hill, another history-maker in the making.

"It only takes one person to light a match, to start a fire to be the beginning of a movement."

Hill is a 2019 graduate of Trinity High School, a junior at storied HBCU Howard University, and she's also this year's national NAACP Youth Activist of the Year. An honor Hill says is still sinking in.

"Just, wow. What does this even mean," she responded with a warm, wide smile when asked about her first reaction to learning of the honor. "Wow. I don't think it's really set in yet."

The 20-year-old organized student protests over unsafe living conditions in the dorms at Howard after peers complained about rats, mold, and frequent flooding.

The students eventually staged a camp-in, drawing national attention, and high-powered support.

"You had the congressmen and women, Elizabeth Warren, and you had the Rev. Jackson walking hand in hand with you," recalls Hill of the protests that unfolded over several weeks in the fall of 2021.

"It was almost like, 'I'm out of moves, I'm out of strategy... I'm out of fuel. I don't know what else to do. But the Rev. Jackson, he was coaching us, he was telling us to stay strong."

A junior at Howard, majoring in strategic legal and management communications, Hill plans to go to law school and work in juvenile justice.

Those "someday" goals, lining up with 'right now' activism on mental health, and voting.

"It's not just the big presidential elections that matter," explains Hill, "it's the smaller elections that truly make a difference policy wise. So, we do have to get out the vote."

And she is both excited, encouraged, and confident that her generation can carry the mission forward.

"I love to see that my generation is taking black radical tradition in taking essentially this love, this love for community that was instilled in us and deepening it, saying, 'well, on the back of this coin, we do have activism, but part of activism is taking care of yourself' and being there to finish the race."

And this weekend Hill will get to have some fun while doing it.

As part of the NAACP Image Awards festivities, she'll attend a luncheon, fashion show, and walk the red carpet in advance of the show airing nationwide Saturday, Feb. 26 on BET at 7:00 p.m. CST.


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