SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — At only 24 years old, Antwan Lang became the youngest elected official in Chatham County history and the youngest elected Democrat in Georgia.
That’s why the Martin Luther King Jr. Observance Day Association is presenting Lang with the 2020 Trailblazer award — a new honor this year.
Lang says getting to where he is now wasn’t easy. His biological mother was an addict and his father was incarcerated.
He was in the foster care system until he was 4 years old when Thomas and Joanne Lang adopted him.
Both of his adopted parents passed away while he was growing up. He says he strives every day to make them proud.
“This award isn’t for me, per se. It’s for those who have helped me,” Lang said. “My parents, Joanne and Thomas Lang, without them choosing me out of all the kids they could have chosen in the foster care system, I don’t believe I would be as far as I am today.”
That’s why Lang is passionate about helping children in the foster care system succeed. He joined the board of Court Appointed Special Advocates in 2017 to make even more of an impact.
“Through that organization, I get to serve and help other foster children,” Lang said. “So being named the Trailblazer and the first Trailblazer, I get to go back and say, ‘Hey guys, if I can do it, you can.’”
Mentoring young people helped him become a member of the 100 Black Men of Savannah.
“Many times I tell the young people in my community that it doesn’t matter where you start, what matters is that attitude you have towards your life,” Lang said. “And you use those adversities that come against you or you think are coming against you, you use those as reasons to succeed and not excuses to fail.”
He graduated from Savannah State University in 2018 and is now pursuing his Master in Public Administration.
Lang serves in the Georgia National Guard and will become a commissioned officer in 2020 through the Savannah State Army ROTC program.
In 2015, Lang was appointed to serve on the Keep Savannah Beautiful Advisory Board, the Savannah Cultural Affairs Commission, and the Savannah Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Lang joined the Savannah Jaycees in 2014. He served on the Board of the Junior Chamber for two years and was then elected president.
He was the second African American to hold this position in its 75-year history. He says Dr. King inspires him to be a leader and a pioneer.
“I want to continue to serve however I can and in whatever capacity,” Lang said. “I want to continue to let people know that I’m here if they need me. And do a good job at it.
“Dr. King always said whatever you do, do the best and be the best at it.”