Chokwe Pitchford


Chokwe Pitchford
Spectrum Health Lakeland
What Does Your Company/Organization Do?
The Center for Better Health is a hypertension clinic in Benton Harbor, this idea came from the mind of Dr. Lynn Todman. We help service our target population with lifestyle changes, barrier removal, and wrap-around services: rental assistance, blood-pressure screenings, and free legal services.
I received the Spirit of Detroit award in 2019 for my efforts to organize, engage, and outreach into the Detroit community with Organizing Corps 2020.
What else do you hope to accomplish by the age of 40?
By the age of 40, I want to be able to look back over my life and be proud of the contributions I made to my community. I would like to have written a book, a movie, and won an office to represent the City of Benton Harbor with the vigor and skill that it deserves.
I graduated from Countryside Academy in 2017; I graduated from Lake Michigan College in 2021; and I am currently pursuing my Bachelor’s degree from Siena Heights University. I also have certifications from T3-Train the Trainer and Harvard University in Public Policy.
Benton Harbor, Michigan
Where were you born?
New Orleans, Louisiana
What was your first job?
My first job was at Schu’s in St. Joseph, Michigan bussing tables.
Best advice you ever got?
Don’t let your ego be so tied to your position that when your position falls your ego goes with it – Colin Powell.
Who inspires you most?
Barack Obama, Gordon Ramsay, Kimberly Pitchford, Lauren Scott, and all of my male mentors: Eric Lester, Brandon Flowers, Jay Haynes, Immanuel Williams, etc.
That one thing about you we’d be most surprised to learn.
I barely graduated High-School, I wasn’t the best of students and I loved sports, drama, and being a class-clown. However, my teachers believed in my ability, and Ms. Silfven (my English teacher) was integral in pushing me across the finish line. Also, I have to give a shout-out to Maria Woodruff, my math teacher who gave me a lot of breaks in her class.
What do you love to do in your downtime?
Read. Whether it’s articles on Reddit, books, comic books, or just skimming through city, county, or federal legislation trying to understand how this gigantic world works.
What book are you reading now?
Trying to finish “A Promised Land,” by Barack Obama.
Volunteer activity you love the most.
Vaccine Outreach. I did a campaign with the Health Department to help vaccinate as many people as possible in Benton Harbor.
What motivates you to give back to your community?
This community never gave up on me, I was raised by this village, and no matter what anyone says – I will never leave my community.
What Superpower would you most love to have?
Super-Speed, it negates all other superpowers.
What has been the most eye-opening thing about the coronavirus pandemic for you, personally?
How easy it is for disinformation about Covid-19, Vaccines, and masks to disseminate – even from our local elected officials.
What does the honor of being named to the 40 Under 40 most mean to you?
I hope that it paves the way for more people in the 18-24 range to see that they can be highlighted in this community for their work. Berrien County can and will be a more inclusive place, not in a superficial way, but really binding us together around a common purpose – rebuilding.


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