1. Who was the first political figure that inspired you?
As a high school student, I learned about Martin Luther King Jr. as a historical figure in the textbooks, but it wasn’t until college when I listened to his speeches that I truly became inspired by him. I was inspired both by his social mission, as well as his ability to lead and inspire change in a community.
2. What is your favorite thing about Raleigh?
Its people. Raleigh revolves around its people. The people here fight hard to create a meaningful community and make our city a better place to live for families, retirees, and young professionals alike. A close second would be all the available green space, from Dix Park to Umstead, downtown squares, and the expansive greenways.
3. What lesson or saying did you learn from a parent/grandparent that you still live by today?
As a child, I played a lot of board games, card games, and put together puzzles with my grandmothers (both paternal and maternal). Through these experiences, I learned a lot about problem solving and collaboration. These are both skills that I learned even more about in design school and use daily in many of the projects I work on, both in my professional job and community-based projects.
4. Why is civic engagement important to you?
Young cities like Raleigh rely on their citizens to help build a community to support growth. Dialogue is the best way to create trust between politicians and citizens and inherently create change in the city. Without dialogue, citizens are uninformed and politicians govern without regulation, benefiting themselves rather than their city.
5. If you had three wishes, what would they be?
- Better Public Education funding. I believe that education is the foundation for a more progressive society, therefore I would wish for more investment and resources for public education.
- A more robust equal rights system. Over the past few years, I have worked on projects with social nonprofit organizations who are fighting for equal rights, such as ACLU, Equality NC, and HRC. Many of the fundamental rights these organizations stand for are current under threat by state legislators and federal government. Better laws are necessary to protect the rights of citizens.
- Cure cancer. Having watched my son go through cancer treatment at 2 years old and subsequently meeting many other children who have been affected, I would use the opportunity to eradicate this disease. Many families’ lives are abruptly changed forever by cancer. While researchers are doing great work to halt the progress of many forms of cancer, there is still a lot to be done to find a cure across the board.
6. Who was your favorite teacher and why?
In college, I had a history professor named Ken Lambla who later become of Dean of the College of Architecture. As Dean, he transformed the college, giving more attention and financial support to progressive projects and programs that ultimately gave the college a fresh identity. He believed in the vision of his professors and students alike, giving them an active voice. His humble leadership was very admirable.
7. What is your hope for the next generation?
I hope the next generation is able to use technology and science to make huge strides in health and social issues. If properly funded and attended to, technology will be a huge part of improving quality and quantity of life.
Jedidiah Gant is a dad who lives with his wife (Stacy), two children (Oliver and Nora), and dog (Penny) in the Mordecai neighborhood in Downtown Raleigh. He works as a Media Strategist at Myriad Media, a video agency based in downtown, with clients such as North Carolina Museum of Art, Dix Park, IBM, Toyota, ACLU NC, and Vans x Truth. His community and art based projects include New Raleigh, Cooke Street Carnival, Raleigh Murals Project, Olde Raleigh, and Flight Raleigh.