UNC sophomore Greear Webb has been appointed to a statewide committee geared toward youth justice led by Gov. Roy Cooper.
The committee, called the Juvenile Justice Planning Committee, was established on Sept. 25 to advise the Governor's Crime Commission and administer juvenile justice and delinquency prevention grants from the Department of Justice.
Webb, whose appointment was announced in November, said he was grateful to be appointed and is looking forward to getting to work.
“I’m very honored to be a young voice on the committee, to represent not only myself but my school, UNC-Chapel Hill, to represent my family, to represent my community — I think it’s important,” Webb said.
Webb is a Morehead-Cain Scholar and the co-founder of two student-led non-profits, N.C. Town Hall and Young Americans Protest. He was also selected as a 2020 Youth Voter Engagement Ambassador through Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education.
Webb said he was proud of the governor and his team for reaching out and being willing to put more young people on the commission. He said young people have been on the front lines of every social justice movement in the United States and have plans and ideas for the future.
“We know what we want our future to look like so including us in these conversations is so important,” he said.
Webb said true change takes three steps: education, protest and policy change. He said there's been a recent increase in education of the true history of the U.S. and the inequities so many of its systems were built upon. After seeing an increase in protests this summer associated with Black Lives Matter and other racial justice movements, Webb said now it's time for policy change.
“I’m excited to do that work,” he said.
Cole Jordan, director of Boards and Commissions in the Office of the Governor, said those interested in serving on a committee can apply online. In addition, she said the Boards and Commissions staff reaches out to individuals who have experience with issues specific to a particular commission.
She said candidates are then reviewed by the Boards and Commissions team and the staff of the Governor’s office to find the most qualified individuals who are dedicated to helping North Carolina citizens. Once fully vetted, information is presented to Gov. Cooper for final approval.
Jordan said Webb has been an active leader in his community and has made sure people’s voices are heard. She said Office of the Governor doesn’t often get a lot of younger people who want to get involved at the state level so she is excited to have him take on this opportunity.
“He just seems like a really great young man who is up-and-coming and wants to be involved in a lot of things,” she said.
Rev. Lisa Yebuah, a close friend of Webb's and lead pastor at Southeast Raleigh Table, a worshipping community affiliated with Edenton Street United Methodist Church, said she was not surprised when she heard he had been appointed to the Juvenile Justice Planning Committee.
She said she thinks Webb will be an accurate voice for what his contemporaries are hoping for in regards to justice reform. She said he won’t just think about what he wants but will be attentive to the wants of the communities he’s a part of.
“He’s always wanted to bring a whole demographic in the room with him,” she said.
Yebuah said Webb sits at the intersection of a lot of identities, which could add depth to the committee’s conversations.
“I hope that even Greear recognizes that he can make the conversation more complex, more complicated,” she said.
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