Eugene Young, from Wilmington, Delaware won a basketball scholarship and earned two degrees in college (information systems and sociology) and is running for mayor of the town some refer to as “Murder Town, USA.“
Young, now 33, is running against the incumbent Mayor Dennis Williams, and six other candidates.
After college, Young returned to Wilmington and said, “I came back home to my neighborhood and realized that there were a lot of guys doing the same thing that they were [doing] before I left. Issues with the law; in jail.”
Young and two friends scrambled together $30,000 (going broke in the process) and created Delaware Elite, a mentoring program for kids.
This organization helped him launch a career in the nonprofit sector, the Delaware legislature and a stint working for New Jersey Senator Cory Booker .
Young wants to transform the 2014 Newsweek accurate assessment of Wilmington as one of the most violent cities in America. He says:
“That does not define who we are or what we’re becoming. We have a beautiful city; we have issues that many other cities in this country have, whether it is your Camdens, your Trentons, your Flints.”
Young believes access to social services and economic development capital will help improve the wellbeing of Wilmington’s citizenry. He adds:
“There are so many men and women who, when they come out of prison, they’re not able to have the resources [on] where to go, how to get a job, how to get an expungement… It leads to many men and women going back and doing the same thing that led them into prison in the first place.”
With 200 volunteers, Young hopes to make a difference in his hometown.
Great time knocking doors on 9th and Monroe! pic.twitter.com/4bmp7RbYNC
— Eugene Young (@eugeneyoung302) June 19, 2016
Young hopes to change the city’s politics, which he argues “are too compartmentalized by race.” He hopes to encourage its leaders to engage “with all areas of the city, not just [a] selected few.”