ATLANTA — The Beloved Benefit is a philanthropic effort to highlight Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy work on Atlanta’s westside. Several high profile community leaders are partnering to launch the Beloved Benefit.

Andrew Young and Dan Cathy sat down with college students at the legendary soul food restaurant Paschal’s. In a roundtable discussion, the two leaders engaged in a passionate conversation with the future leaders.

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Some students identified themselves as first-generation college students. Others shared a perspective on what it means to grow up in the westside.

The beginning.

Andrew Young started off the discussion. “What’s happening around you is, you are getting educated,” he said.

One student asked “What is our challenge? What is it that we are to do?”

“You don’t find it out but one day at a time… what ever is in the future, you have to define,” the Civil Rights leader responded.

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One student expressed her disapproval about the negative impact of gentrification and racial inequality.  “We all have a duty to uplift the people in our community who are marginalized. A lot of us didn’t have privilege ‘til we came to college,” she said.

The transformation.

Young and Cathy responded that the city’s westside is transforming and becoming revitalized after decades of poverty.

Cathy brought up efforts with the westside Future Fund and the anti-displacement tax relief program.

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“We all lose if we lose the heart and soul of the fabric of the people who stuck in here through all of this. We’re just not going to let that happen. We share your heart. We share your passion. And we’re taking action,” he explained.

 “We can’t help it that I was born black and you were born white. You can’t blame me for being black and I can’t blame you for being white,” he explained.

Young said, "We were born in an unjust situation. What we can do is come together as brothers and resolve it.”

The future.

After the dinner conversation, 11Alive’s Neima Abdulahi asked Young how important it is to have a dialogue with a younger generation.

“It’s necessary for the past to stay in touch with the future and it’s necessary for the future to stay in touch with the past,” he said.

We asked him what he hopes his legacy represents as he continues to make a difference in Atlanta.

“We believed in God and the future. And not in the problems and the past,” he said.

The inaugural Beloved Benefit will take place on March 21 to increase resources for the westside.

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