Change influencer and organizer Kenny Doss II is a native son of Chicago. Heis intimately aware of the pros and cons of growing up in the community of Englewood on the South Side of Chicago and has ultimately created a space to address many of the issues that affect that community. As the founder of Bridging The Gap Globally, Doss has integrated himself into the community with the sole purpose of changing the narrative and providing a different view of success. Rolling out spoke with Doss about his organization and working with the community he grew up in.
Talk about what inspired Bridging The Gap Globally.
My love and passion for the game of basketball are what made me start doing tournaments in the Englewood community. Through my ups and downs with basketball in college, I didn’t want any young men in my community to face the same challenges. I never valued education when I first went to college so I felt like it was my job to show the youth that education was the ultimate key to opening all doors. Bridging The Gap Globally was an Englewood-based organization that was just about basketball until we developed a relationship with not only the youth, but also the elderly in Englewood.
What do you think is the biggest misconception that people have of young Black youth in Chicago?
I think the biggest misconception that people have of young black youth from Chicago is that we are violent and don’t care about life. Truthfully we are all just fighting for survival and trying to make the best out of the underfunded communities we grow up in. We all want better, but how can we be something that we can’t see? The only way to make it out is to rap or play sports, that’s why I pride myself on leading by example showing the youth that if we don’t help ourselves no one else will.
What would you like to see from the people in the community to help aid in its transformation?
To be honest, my community supports everything I do and my fight to bring resources for the youth. I would like for them to keep supporting me because change will come.
What does a thriving Englewood look like to you?
A thriving Englewood to me is us being homeowners, [along with] black businesses, community centers, and resources for our youth to take advantage of to be whatever they inspire to become in life.
What has been your most memorable moment as a change agent thus far?
The most memorable moment for me as a change agent was our Juneteenth event during Covid. We were able to bring resources in our community to help residents get the essentials they needed when stores were closed, [and assist with] educational opportunities and jobs. We also were able to bring hope to our community during a hopeless time, not to mention the smiles that the youth had having been able to have a safe, fun time.