Hear Me Roar
July 2020 Issue
Photography by Mike Force Photography
Mayor Kizzi Knight
Mayor Kizzi, You have been Mayor of Woodbine, Georgia, since January—congratulations! What is an interesting component in being a leader in your community of 1500 people?
Thank you! I think the component that stands out the most is leading from the ground. I feel best being always at eye level with everyone; I’m not looking down from a platform, or from behind a traditional desk. My residents have clear access to me.
We understand, in your town, being mayor is a part-time job. What is your additional career and how do you make it all work?
I’ve been in law enforcement for over 14 years and child advocacy for the past five. Neither of my positions are considered “work” to me anymore. It feels like I’m just going out every day to make someone’s life a little better.
Tell us about the absolute BEST event a community could ever host—Woodbine’s Crawfish Festival… Since 1985, our festival is always held on the fourth Saturday in April with super awesome food, vendors and crowds. The energy and atmosphere that weekend makes our festival ‘The Place to Be.’ I’ve probably missed only two in my entire life, that’s how good they are. Everyone knows 90 percent of Southeast Georgians are seafood lovers. We can’t have a low country boil in Woodbine without throwing in some crawfish. Honestly, I really love crawfish.
What do you feel makes you different? I’m a realist, and I don’t hold a grudge. I’m able to tell anyone how I feel, and if they’ve disturbed my peace and balance, all in a non-charged conversation. I choose love over any and everything. It is the single most important virtue. When love wins, we all win!
If you could write a letter to someone in history and they could write back, who would it be? Sojourner Truth. She was a huge instrument in the movement for women’s rights. I’d like to know how she navigated through slavery’s harshness to still rise up and fight. I’d like to know what’s truth and what’s false about her legacy. “Truth is powerful, and it prevails,” and “Religion without humanity is very poor human stuff,” are two of my favorite quotes from her. I’d like to tell her where we are now in history.
List three things you CANNOT leave home without…
Cellphones—not by choice
My positivity—my secret weapon
My wife, Robin—she will not let me leave without her!
What does the term “Ms. Independent” mean to you? Freedom! Mental freedom! Not being dependent upon anyone’s opinions, ideologies, expectations, beliefs, etc. I’m free to be the authentic me, while being inspired by everything in life! Independence is key to my total fulfillment; it allows my internal compass to guide me. “Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.”(1 John 4:4)
What gets you up, raring to go each day? I was taught by Mom and Dad to always use my time wisely. I’m just naturally a hard worker. To me, every day is a new opportunity; it’s all I need to know to get me up and going. I’m always asked, “Are you ever at home?” lol. I’m a lover of life, and life is short, so there’s no time to waste. I believe in being productive every day, no matter how small or great. Get something done!
Paying it forward, what keen advice would you like to share with young people? We’ve raised young people into a society of convenience without a warning label. There’s a cost associated with every short cut you try to take in life. So, I say to stay steady and always move forward; I promise you’ll get where you’re trying to go. Often times, we as parents use our own form of bullying to push our children down the path we think they should take. But young people today are more in-tune with their artistic and non-traditional sides; their creativity has exploded over the last ten years. We should encourage them to do what makes them get up, be excited and feel like they’re contributing a part of themselves to the world. I encourage all young people, to be productive, dream big and take risks! My baby brother, Kenny Knight, who transitioned from this world last year, would always say: “You can’t build a brand without a creative brain.”
Thank you for your candor and sharing a snapshot of your interesting life. Lastly, Mayor Knight, what are you ROARING about these days? These days I’m roaring about the road to equality and justice for ALL! I see this destination on the map, I’m just trying to figure out the best route to take to get us there. It is starting to happen all over the world but cannot be done without all of us. Mutual respect for every human being is the first road we all must travel down.