Smith received the award in November in recognition of his work as an advocate for children, which includes founding and leading the Interfaith Childrenï¿½s Movement (ICM), an organization he founded in 2001. Smith was one of seven award recipients; others included Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin and The Junior League of Atlanta.
Smith said the award affirms the importance of ICMï¿½s work, which includes an emphasis on childrenï¿½s health care. When it appeared that the state was going to make budget cuts that would have adversely affected the health care for more than 245,000 children, ICM supporters lobbied hard to make sure it didnï¿½t happen.
One of the best parts about the work, Smith noted, is seeing ordinary people begin to feel empowered to bring about change. ï¿½We lament whatï¿½s happening, but we all feel so powerless,ï¿½ he said. ï¿½Weï¿½re not.ï¿½
Smith also is involved with Just Georgia, an organization working to revise Georgiaï¿½s juvenile justice code, which Smith said hasnï¿½t been revised significantly in 40 years. ï¿½The juvenile justice system is failing our children,ï¿½ he said.
Besides his work on behalf of children, Smith's current research focuses on the writings and correspondence of Howard Thurman and a spirituality of hope.