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Power 2 Change: The Privilege Institute’s Dr. Eddie Moore Jr.

Moore's story is marked by overcoming addiction and using those hard lessons to propel his work in fighting racism
Published: Aug. 13, 2020 at 9:50 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - As a community resource, WBAY-TV knows we need to do more, to advance the conversation about race in Northeast Wisconsin.

This is the Power 2 Change.

Dr. Eddie Moore Jr. is a lifelong learner and teacher. After receiving his PhD in educational leadership, Moore started his work in diversity, first at a college and then as the founder of The Privilege Institute based in Green Bay.

Moore has a story to tell, one marked by overcoming addiction and using those hard lessons to propel his work in fighting racism.

“My name is Eddie Moore Junior. I’m originally from Florida; that’s where I grew up. My high school basketball coach was from Iowa. He went to a little small college in Iowa called Cornell College, in a little town called Mount Vernon, Iowa. He and my mom conspired to get me as far away from home as possible, and that’s where I ended up.

“When I graduated with my BA degree in political science, I went back home and got with the same people my mom tried to get me out of, the same situation my mom tried to get me out of, the same kind of conditions, and that’s where crack cocaine was really hitting our community at a high rate. And I got swallowed up by addiction to crack cocaine. I was working part time at Big Brothers Big Sisters and actually I was -- let’s just say -- doing some unhealthy things fueling my crack habit with some of the funds associated with the organization.

“I was fortunate to have a couple of ladies who were my supervisors that gave me a second chance. And that’s why I share the truth of my story, especially with young people -- mainly young, Black males -- so they can know, it’s not where you start, it’s where you end up. As a Black man, it’s just often that I encounter people who don’t see through that. So because of that, race and racism, I’m stronger because of the things I’ve had to overcome. Now I’ve poured my life and my intellect into where racism comes from, how it’s so prevalent in our society and what we can do about it.

“I’m fortunate that I come into a profession, into work that I love to do. And so I think the struggles, the challenges, the difficulties, the disparities, although they weigh on me every day, some days more than others, I really love the challenge of fighting racism, of racists, of white supremacists. I mean, I enjoy the hurdles that they present in front of me because that’s been a part of my journey.

“Privilege is easy to define. It’s something you get that you didn’t earn, that you didn’t ask for, that you didn’t work for. It’s a perk you receive simply because of who you are. And everybody’s got it. I mean, sometimes people push back against white privilege, but I want to be really clear that everybody has privilege. It’s not just skin-based privilege that exists out there: There’s ability privilege, there’s economic privilege, there’s religious privilege, there’s gender privilege. So my motto, our motto at The Privilege Institute is that everyone has privilege, we’re just impacted by it in very different ways, and it’s understanding that will allow us to build a more truly inclusive society.

“Lastly, I’ll say what my shirt says. Understand: Commit to just understanding difference. Respect: That some people are going to be different, some people are going to be Republican, some people are going to have resources, some people are going to be hard of hearing, some people are going to be liking the Vikings, OK? Just respect that. And that’s OK. You don’t have to sing Kumbaya every time. I’m asking people just to be in respect that people hold different opinions. Most importantly though, how do we connect? How do we build those relationships? That is really our thematic practice at The Privilege Institute: understanding, respecting, connecting.”

Continue learning at The Privilege Institute website

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