Righteous Keitt is on a mission to change Charlotte.
In 2017, Keitt, then only 16, founded Bags for Bagless, a nonprofit designed to help the community, particularly homeless individuals, have access to everyday toiletries that most people take for granted. In 2018, Keitt and his team of family and friends helped nearly 400 individuals.
“When it comes to deciding whether they are going to have a blanket to sleep on or food to feed their families, I want to make sure that they don’t have to worry about it,” he said.
Keitt graduated in 2019 from Phillip O. Berry Academy, where he was the student body vice president. He has enrolled at UNC Chapel Hill and is already making plans to expand Bags for Bagless to help those in need in Chapel Hill and surrounding communities.
As a high school student, Keitt worked to bring a student voice to local politics as the vice president of Charlotte’s city youth council. In partnership with the city council, the county commissioners, and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board, the council provides a process for local governments to hear students’ concerns and options.
He said the council has tackled inequity in school resources resulting from Charlotte’s segregated past, as well as concerns about school safety, the need for active shooter training and school psychologists within the districts and how to reduce gun violence.
“When it comes to school safety, it’s not always in the hallways,” he said. “Sometimes it is what is happening outside the school that gets brought inside. To confront the problem, we need to get everyone involved.”
In the future, Keitt wants to mentor to other students. As a junior in high school, he mentored over 300 high school and middle school aged students through an internship with Profound Gentlemen, a non- profit organization that seeks to cultivate male educators of color. Keitt taught his mentees how to become social entrepreneurs, helping to create opportunities for others and having a social impact by becoming leaders in their community.
He also wants to get more people to vote, to make sure people’s voices are being heard.
“My goal right now is to get my degree in political science and then come back to Charlotte and to effectively make a difference and improve the community in any way possible,” he said.
By: Bria Lindsay