Alumni Changemakers: Richard Pittman Jr.

BA '18, religious studies
Richard Pittman, Jr

Richard Pittman Jr. is the Second Vice-President of the Saint Paul Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), after serving as the youth president of the branch for two years. In addition to the NAACP, Pittman works with numerous community organizations including Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ International and the National Pan-Hellenic Council at the University of Minnesota. An elder of the Church of God in Christ, he works to bring equality and opportunity to the disenfranchised communities of Saint Paul. He helped plan and mediate the growing discussion and movement on the “Stop the Gun Violence” events through the NAACP of Saint Paul and is the creator of the podcast “The Survival ToolBox.”

What is one significant event or relationship that you had in CLA that contributed to or continues to influence your life as a changemaker?

There's a verse in the Bible that says, ‘one man plants, another man waters the plant but only God gives the increase.’ This verse speaks about the importance of a person doing their part and in doing their part, we allow room for others to do the same. 

I come from a village of men and women who have planted and watered seeds into people who evolve into trees of life for the communities they serve. My mother and father, Dr. Greg Sawyer of the Trio Office of the University of Minnesota, the MLK Office of the University of Minnesota with Dr. Hines, Melanie Johnson, and Dr. Walter Goodwin—these are some of the people who have planted and watered seeds of life into me that have helped to ignite change in the lives of people I minister to in speech and progressive actions. 

The history of this country and the African-Americans who fought for their freedoms suggest that this very simple biblical teaching courses through the vein of continued justice in this country. For the people who need it most, it shows that the seeds, planted and watered, have now grown into a forest of strong, tall trees of changemakers. As past President Barack Obama said, ‘We are the leaders we need.’ So my hope is to continue to plant and water seeds of hope for tomorrow, as my heroes have done for me.


Celebrating Alumni Changemakers



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