How this political activist found his purpose, and his voice
By Carla Kucinski
Lindsay Pendleton can’t pinpoint a particular moment that sparked his love for politics. It seems it’s always been a part of him.
Even as a teenager, he remembers switching off Looney Tunes to watch Ronald Reagan’s televised funeral in 2004 —just because. While Pendleton didn’t agree with Reagan’s politics, he recognized the event’s significance and felt compelled to witness the historical moment.
“It was awe-inspiring; it showed his importance,” Pendleton said. “I have no clue why I am the way I am. I have always found politics interesting since forever. I have just always been strange like that.”
A native of Thomasville, N.C., Pendleton is the type of person you instantly like when you meet him. He’s witty, charismatic and sharp — a politician in the making. One day, he says, he will be the Governor of North Carolina; and it’s not a pipe dream.
“My purpose is clear: I was made to help people, and not through traditional methods people often talk about,” he said. “I was put here to help people through government and political activism.”
When Pendleton first came to GTCC in spring 2015, that purpose wasn’t so clear. He had no idea what he wanted to do with his life. But a political science class with instructor Matthew DeSantis changed everything. It was the first time that Pendleton said he realized, “I can see myself doing this.”
“He’s the one who opened my eyes,” Pendleton said of DeSantis. “He was the one who focused me and inspired me to study political science and get involved in local and state government. In the future, when people are calling me Governor Pendleton, you should call Mr. DeSantis because he sent me down this path.”
Today, Pendleton is the president of the Political Science Club and the Model United Nations Club. Most recently, he won honorable delegate at the Carolina Crisis Training Conference, competing against delegates from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Elon University, both nationally-ranked top 50 Model UN teams. He also serves as vice chair of the Greensboro College Commission, an advisory board formed by the Greensboro City Council to provide insight into what will attract and retain students in the community, and chair of the commission’s committee on poverty. This month, he’s also ramping up his campaign to run for 2017-2018 Student Government Association president.
What excites him about being a GTCC student? “Everything,” he says.
Through his roles at GTCC and in the community, Pendleton wants to affect change. Food insecurity, in particular, is a cause close to his heart. Coming to GTCC and seeing his fellow classmates struggle, opened his eyes to the issue, he said. Last year, Rep. Alma Adams invited him to share his viewpoint at a food insecurity forum. The experience became a turning point.
“I realized I could use my words to inspire people,” he said. “I can use my voice to make change.”
There’s a quote by Theodore Roosevelt: “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” Fittingly, Roosevelt is Pendleton’s favorite president. He feels a kinship with him — his energy, the way he carried himself, his belief in social justice, his philosophy of always looking forward. When Pendleton says he wants to teach political science, hold political office and become the Governor of North Carolina, there’s no doubt it’s going to happen. He’s halfway there.
“While at GTCC, I have discovered myself,” Pendleton said. “I now have purpose and I have a passion that drives me.”