Community activist Marie Mott accepted into Harvard Emerging Leaders On-Campus Program

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Marie Mott smiling in front of a brick background.

“As the first African American to break through this glass ceiling, I am grateful to God, my fellow activists, my mentor and every person who’s had a hand in my development,” said Chattanooga activist Marie Mott on her acceptance into the Harvard Emerging Leaders On-Campus Program.

Community activist and organizer Marie Mott has been accepted into the Harvard Emerging Leaders On-Campus Program slated for May 8-13, at The Harvard Kennedy School.

According to its website, “Emerging Leaders is an executive education program that brings together renowned Harvard faculty and an international cohort of rising professionals from the United States and abroad for an empowering and energizing week of learning.”

Using “a cutting-edge pedagogy,” the program aims to ensure that attendees “gain the skills and strategic frameworks necessary to capitalize on opportunities and overcome obstacles, returning home inspired to enact change in their country.”

Mott has been at the forefront of the 2020 Black Lives Matter protest and public policy change, and seeks to be an inspiration for young African Americans as agents of change.

“I am so excited to have the great honor of representing Chattanooga in such a prestigious program,” Mott said. “There is no way I would’ve ever been able to have this opportunity without my community. So many people have believed in me and invested into me along the way. I owe it to my city to show that being black is beautiful and we can do absolutely anything we put our mind to.”

Mott serves as chairperson for Civic Engagement at the Hamilton County Chattanooga NAACP Chapter. She spent months working closely with NAACP President Ann Jones-Pierre and other NAACP Executive Board Members to bring awareness to American Rescue Plan dollars awarded to the city and county for the economic repair of the underserved black community.

One of her other priorities is the displacement of Black Chattanoogans out of the city, which has sparked further conversation into solutions for gentrification.

Mott ran unsuccessfully against incumbent Anthony Byrd in the March 2021 race for Chattanooga’s District 8 City Council seat. She is one of three people who have picked up papers to run in the Aug. 9 election for the seat which came open Feb. 1 when Mayor Tim Kelly appointed Councilman Byrd as City Court clerk.

“Thank you to my beloved parents, family and the Harvard alumni that encouraged my candidacy and journey.” Mott said. “I cannot wait to learn, network with young emerging leaders from all over the world and walk the same campus as the ancestor W.E.B. DuBois. This is for all of us, and I want to come back home with vital information we need to inspire a new generation of leaders in Chattanooga.”