Mitch Landrieu’s E Pluribus Unum (EPU) announced its inaugural class of UNUM Fellows, including Macon-Bibb County’s own Virgil Watkins, County Commissioner, Macon-Bibb County Board of Commission. The cohort of 14 accomplished and diverse Southern elected leaders will embark on a year-long journey to address inequitable and discriminatory policies and practices within their communities. Uniquely positioned to redesign broken systems, they begin this signature program amidst a renewed national movement towards racial and economic justice. The program comes with a commitment of up to $75,000 to support the implementation of an equity-focused project led by the fellow.
“Elected leaders play a crucial role in setting the tone for communities on discussions of racial and economic equity because of their ability to change inequitable and discriminatory policies and practices,” said Landrieu. “Just a few years ago, I was in a very similar position as Commissioner Watkins. I know what’s at stake, and I know how important it is to have support and access to resources, experts and tools. That’s where EPU comes in—we designed a program that creates the space for Commissioner Watkins and other local elected leaders to better realize their power to make lasting change, and leverage the invaluable support of peers, expert advisors and community partners to do so.”
Since becoming a Commissioner, Mr. Watkins has served as Executive Board Member of the Workforce Investment Board, a Board Member for the Regional Youth Detention Center, and Member of the Convention & Visitors Bureau. Currently, Mr. Watkins is the Chairman of the Operations & Finance Committee on the Macon-Bibb County Commission. Prior to being elected, Mr. Watkins worked for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) as a political organizer, served as Democratic representative on the Bibb County Board of Elections, and a Mayoral appointee to the Macon Transit Authority. Mr. Watkins holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Georgia Southern University, and a Masters in Business Management from Wesleyan College.