Irving Allen, 29, community organizer
Irving Allen is the part of a legacy.
Irving’s uncle, David Richmond, was one of “the A&T Four,” a group of students who launched the lunch counter sit-in protests in Greensboro in the 1960s. Irving’s father, Steve Allen, was a civil rights attorney and the first black superior court judge in Guilford County. His parents and other black families banded together to grow a neighborhood in Pleasant Garden.
But the 29-year-old is blazing his own path, as a new generation leader working to improve his community.
Allen is the Triad regional coordinator of Ignite NC, an organization dedicated to building the leadership and power of young people to fight for social change.
“Young people are the only reason anything has changed in this country, ever,” Allen says.
He also leads the Gate City Black Lives Matter group, which he and others use to organize social movements in Greensboro. He organizes meetings, marches, concerts. He participates in conversations about race with police and advocates for a better public education system in Guilford County.
“My role is to use my relationships and the way people view me — whether it’s through my family or the history of the work I’ve done or the people I’ve worked with — to get resources to people who don’t have them.”
This notion of getting resources to people who don’t have them means that Irving is working to provide better access to money, and other tools like vans to organize and better their community by getting rid of the gatekeepers to those resources. If someone has an idea to better their community, they should be able to execute it, Irving says.
So he works to help break down the barriers. “I really don’t see myself representing folks, I see myself with the folks. We rarely do things alone.”