When you’re blessed to be connected with one of the legends of the Civil Rights era and the last living lieutenant of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., you celebrate them every chance you get. But today, I want to acknowledge my good friend and mentor, Ambassador Andrew Young, on his 89th birthday. 

For a man who is one year shy of 90, he’s as sharp and quick-witted as ever, and his passion for people and social justice remains unchanged. Though a giant among men, he’s gentle as a dove, and willingly invites friends and strangers alike to draw from his deep reservoir of knowledge, experience, and inspiration. Despite all of his notable achievements, including becoming the first African American to serve as a United States congressman since the Reconstruction era, the first African American to represent the United States in the United Nations, being the recipient of more than 100 honorary doctorate degrees, and being awarded the French Foreign Legion Award and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, among many other things, he views himself as being only a humble humanitarian. 

Aside from being a stalwart for human and civil rights, he’s a sterling example of what it means to be a public servant. Having served in the United Nations as an ambassador for the United States and as a former mayor of the city of Atlanta, he has mastered the art of connection and bringing larger than life vision to life. In many ways, Atlanta would not be the city it is today without his hard work and contributions over the years.

Yesterday, my friend Ed Bastian and the team at Delta Air Lines, honored Ambassador Young with a socially distant, yet uniquely touching celebration at Delta’s headquarters in Atlanta. I, along with Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, former mayor, Shirley Franklin, and others, were present to witness the unveiling of an especially thoughtful gift — the renaming of their main buildings to the “Ambassador Andrew J. Young International Building. 

You can read Delta’s account of the event here and watch 11 Alive’s coverage of the event here

Join me in wishing Ambassador Andrew Young a very happy 89th birthday. He’d love to read your comments and well wishes. 

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