What started out as a community-wide initiative and fight for social justice by community advocates Minister Lethia Jones Kittrell and Ms. Theresa Davis Blount, is now Fitzgerald For Change Community outreach Incorporated, (F4C), a community 501c3 designated organization advocating for Social justice and a fight for equitable solutions for a variety of community issues. From a year-long discussion about racial and ethnic issues starting around March of 2020 (about two weeks following the death of George Floyd), then Candidate Lethia Kittrell seized an opportunity to lead in her community. With Ms. Blount and the Ben Hill County Civics League by her side, a community March was quickly organized with local attendees and visitors from as far as Florida, Atlanta GA, and several of the neighboring towns. After the March, it was understood that simply going home was not an option. The question was asked, “What’s next?” Because of the Covid pandemic, face to face meetings were not available, so the Talk After the Walk Virtual Zoom Community Forum was born.
The first forum which involved the topic “Sharing Your Community From Your Point Of View”; included government officials, law enforcement officers, and local community citizens. The Forums sparked many different topics and discussions relative to “building a more equitable community, and provided a platform for the hard discussion on Racism. Topics like “Unifying the Community: What Will It Take?” to “Equitable Healthcare in Communities” to “Equitable Education for All” has brought together different panelists with a diverse group of community citizens. Multicultural worship services are being planned to bridge our community and to bring the faith-based community closer together. A Mayoral Ministerial Council has been formed and a City of Fitzgerald Youth Leadership Council has been set-up through the city. Other partnerships have been formed such as a guest panelist, Nurse Practitioner Sebrina Taylor collaborating with the Monitor Enrichment Center for health equity. For the first time in the history of Fitzgerald GA, an all-black event was held downtown as the Men of VISION sponsored a weekend festival celebration honoring Juneteenth, of which F4C participated with a voters registration drive, advocating the Freedom Rides through the BVM t-shirt give-a-ways, giving out watermelons, Covid-19 information, and so much more. Several other partnerships from the community along with many community-wide initiatives, and publicly held events through our partnerships with Black Voters Matter, Fresh Communities, Georgia Act, the NAACP, The Democratic Party and many local organizations have brought significant change to our community. Through our partnership with the Democratic Party of Georgia’s phone banking, Lit Drop, and Voter’s registration, black voter participation was at an all-time high in November of 2020 & 2021.