Quay Barnes: Community leader, mentor, and Matt’s mom

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – For Quay Barnes, being a part of something is in her genes.

“I’m at the tail end of the civil rights movement,” said Barnes. “My parents and I are first-generation black migration from the South to the North So a lot of those stories came with me and it was just ingrained that if you want any change you have to come together to make change.”

This is something that she has instilled in her own children and the countless young people that she interacts with every day through the Latchkey program at Berwick K-8 school and at Driving Park Library.

“Children were really the motivation behind the civil rights movement,” said Quay, “But I think kids nowadays don’t realize that they have that kind of power and that they have that contribution that they can make.

For Barnes and other city leaders, getting our children involved is a way to ensure our city’s future.

“We can’t do this forever. There has to be somebody that comes up behind us. And when you see that little spark or you see them feel that sense of accomplishment, you know that you one day will be able to rest and the movement will continue,” said Barnes.

“We have a collaboration which is unique in the city, called the MidEast Area Community Colloborative, which is all the organizations in the mid east section of the city between Bexley and Whitehall. And there’s 16 organizations and we all sit at the table at the same time. Most of the time, we have the same issues. But sometimes issues are unique.”

“So we stand behind even that one organization with that one unique problem and it’s just been rapidly growing successful type of structure.”

“Sometime when you’re standing there you feel like the only one experiencing this problem. Well you’re not. You never are. And when we come together and we we approach those that can affect the change, then you can see that you’re part of the bigger picture.

“She’s really the template,” said state representative Hearcel Craig, who has worked with Barnes for many years. “She’s a real leader not only in this community but around our city and around our state. It has a rippling effect in her work and her commitment.”


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