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Joel Odem, youngest mayoral candidate in Charlotte, remembered at vigil

Updated: Mar. 5, 2021 at 10:28 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The community came out to a vigil Friday night to remember Joel Odom, a young man who certainly made an enduring mark on the city of Charlotte at just 22 years old.

Odom was the youngest person to ever run for the mayor’s office barely out of his teens. He was a community activist and an avid supporter of the Beatties Ford Road area.

“One of my little brothers had passed away. That hurt me so much man.” said a member of the Odom family.

Tears of remembrance and pain. A life taken too soon, but a life well lived.

That was the message Friday night as dozens of people gathered to remember Odom at his old high school.

Friends and family said he had dreams and ambitions that far exceeded his years.

He was a community activist, helped the underprivileged and when that wasn’t enough, he decided to take a run at the mayor’s office challenging incumbent Vi Lyles for the position. Even though he was just 20 years old and had his doubters.

“I’m excited to prove all of those individuals wrong, to show them I have what it takes to be that leader.” Odom told WBTV in 2019.

His platform focused on jobs, education, affordable housing, and public safety.

Though he didn’t make it out of the primaries, Odom didn’t let that slow down his mission, to revitalize the Beatties Ford Road corridor.

His death is still a mystery. His father found him unconscious and unresponsive in the bathroom last week, but no cause has been given to why he died.

Those who knew him released balloons into the night sky maybe so that others in the neighborhood who loved him so much could look up, and remember.

Odom’s funeral is set for Saturday at Saint Paul Baptist Church. .

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