McDonald’s hopes to amplify the voices of young Black changemakers in a new nationwide advertising and social media campaign—titled Future 22—that launched during Black History Month and will continue at least through June.

The campaign is designed to “give voices to some of the next generation and future leaders in America,” said Elizabeth Campbell, the burger chain’s senior director of cultural engagement, in an interview with Nation’s Restaurant News.

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“We wanted to partner with people who are making a difference in their community and put a spotlight on them and shine through the work that they are doing so that people would know about them,” Campbell said. “That way it would help amplify the work that they are doing in the communities … they come from.”

Starting this month, the campaign will spotlight a total of 22 young Black leaders in a series of TV and radio ads, an Instagram account called @weargolden and McDonald’s Future 22 YouTube channel.

One of the featured changemakers is Parisia Hutchinson, a Howard University student and McDonald’s crew trainer in Newburgh, N.Y. Among her many achievements, Hutchinson has spearheaded a project to feed the homeless, coordinated a prom for senior citizens in assisted living facilities, tutored kids with the U.S. Department of Education’s Upward Bound program, and organized indoor activities for children with sun sensitivities.

Nyla Sams, a podcaster and mental wellness advocate from Long Island, N.Y. (see video above), is also spotlighted in the campaign. Sams has made it her mission to spread self-care knowledge and works through the National Black Justice Coalition to improve the quality of life for LGBTQ+ students at historically black colleges and universities. A student at Florida A&M, Sams is an accomplished orator and headlined a Tedx Talk on the subject of Black female exceptionalism. In her talk, she described “what it means to be a Black woman and how the burden to be exceptional just to be validated is crushing for us.”

“I just really learned to use language for action-based changemaking, and that’s how I’m a game changer,” Sams said in her Future 22 spot. “I want people to remember me as a girl who was shy and used her voice to make a big difference.”

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Other Future 22 change leaders include:

  • Jackson, Miss. native J.C. Smith, a student at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., who works to preserve the rich history and culture of Black vernacular through Black American Sign Language (see video above);
  • Kevin Brooks, a Memphis filmmaker and University of Memphis graduate who mentors kids interested in the film industry as a career while using his gifts to share positive stories about Black culture;
  • Nasir Barnes, a STEM leader and Morehouse College student from Deerfield, Mass., who created a robotics program for children from diverse backgrounds and works with the Destined for Greatness Outreach Youth Center in Atlanta;
  • Marveon Mabon, a Morehouse College student who runs urban gardening and anti-bullying programs in Watts, Calif., teaching youths how to grow their own healthy food and providing them with safe neighborhood spaces;
  • Earl Robinson, a filmmaker, entrepreneur and Winston-Salem State University student from Richmond, Virginia, who made his first short film at the age of 11 and currently runs a business, ER Scholars, that helps students find scholarship opportunities.

Actress/singer Keke Palmer, an Emmy Award nominee and one of Time magazine’s Most Influential People in the World in 2019, narrates the video spots for the campaign. “I am thrilled to work with McDonald’s to honor these heroic young people who are doing extraordinary things in their communities,” Palmer said. “They are standing on the shoulders of the giants who stood before them to chart dynamic, new paths, and I am excited to let the world know about them and their causes.”

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