Elijah Lowe: Turning his past into future change

As a child, they called him derogatory names and chased him. Today, he’s fighting for what he thinks is right — and creating a space for civil debate.

Presented by: Our York Media
Elijah Lowe (Our York Media)

It happened in his 9th grade healthy lifestyles class, of all places. There was a girl sitting in Elijah Lowe’s assigned seat. So, politely, he asked her to move. 

Her expression turned into a snarl, but she got up. As he sat down, he heard her from the back of the room. 

“N—–!” she yelled. 

Then she made monkey noises. Then came the oinking. 

At 14 years old, Elijah was already well on his way to the 6 feet 4 inches he is as a grown man, but he didn’t feel it that day in that Eastern York High School classroom. 

“I felt an inch tall,” he says. 

Now 20 years old, he still counts it as the most embarrassing event of his life. 

It wasn’t an isolated incident.  

In 8th grade, he was chased by a pick-up truck with a Confederate flag hanging off the back. Then, there were the micro-aggressions, like his white friends saying the “n-word.” 

Just love your neighbor.

Elijah Lowe

It hurt. It made him angry. But, it didn’t break him. 

It only made him more resolved to fight for what’s right, to stand up for what he believes in. 

Earlier this year he founded Agora — a group that provides space for people from all walks of life to talk, listen and discuss issues.  

People don’t listen to each other, Elijah says, they just jump down each other’s throats. Agora is a space for people to talk and respect each other, where people can disagree and still be civil. 

To him, it’s simple. 

“Just love your neighbor,” he says. 

He has big ideas on how to help York, and he wants to prove himself as someone who matters, who can affect change. 

Those people who made his high school years hell – he’s over them.  

But they did light a fire in him. Elijah’s purpose is bigger than he is now.  

He’s going to make a difference. 

He’s not in 9th grade anymore, and he won’t just sit down and take it. 

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