“Be the change you want to see. If you wait for someone else to do it then it will never get done.”
– Corey Agin.
Anyone who came into contact with Corey Agin felt the infectious energy that he carried within. When he spoke, people wanted to join his effort for change. His simple, but well-contemplated and compelling ideas made people wonder why no one had thought of these concepts before.
Corey began his political journey to start changing what he saw as wrong with society. Corey was passionate about the government’s treatment of marijuana. During his mid-teenage years he was diagnosed with Celiac disease, an autoimmune disease that made him allergic to gluten. Due to the onset of this disease and new dietary restrictions, Corey suffered from intense, long-lasting stomach pains. Also, like many Americans, he suffered from stress and anxiety caused by everyday trials and tribulations. This led Corey to try cannabis to offset these unfortunate pains, and immediate improvement was evident.
It was apparent to Corey that marijuana possessed healing qualities, and the stigma and general misunderstanding associated with it needed to be righted. It angered him that people could drown themselves in alcohol, pop prescription pills and literally smoke their lives away with tobacco, while marijuana (with zero documented related deaths) is considered a Class 1 drug, next to meth. He saw evidence supporting the medical potency of this plant, yet it was putting people in jail. So Corey decided to be the change. In his second year of college, after switching majors from mechanical engineering to political science, he and his significant other founded his first non-profit organization, the Rhode Island chapter of NORML, The National Organization for the Reform Of Marijuana Laws.
As an executive director in a nationally recognized and respected organization, Corey hit the ground running. He began reaching out to as many marijuana support organizations as possible. He landed interviews on various live radio broadcasts, spoke on the Buddy Cianci show, and in the final weeks of his life, was invited to speak at Roger Williams School of Law.
His greatest obstacle was never his mind, drive, ideals or passion, but his age. He began RI NORML at age 19 and, although eventually his potential was recognized, his youth was continuously held against him. He did not let that stop him, and soon he found his nonprofit being reached out to and backed up by an already well established organization, Our America Initiative. This influential and well-recognized, Libertarian-based organization of CEOs, authors and political figures gave Corey the Rhode Island head position in their organization and fully supported RI NORML. This made it clear to Corey that he was in the game and was becoming a force to be reckoned with.
Everywhere he went he made it a point to talk to someone about his mission, get others involved, or at least challenge conventional ideas. Every day was an opportunity waiting to be seized, and Corey had a way of inspiring others to do the same.
There is some truth in the saying that the good die young. The things that Corey achieved in his short time on this earth go beyond what some individuals achieve in lengthy lifetimes, and all who were lucky enough to meet and exchange a few words with him were impacted by who he was. He was not only trying to better himself, but also the lives around him. Because of this legacy and the amazing person he was, he will always be remembered and kept alive through the continuation of the change he began.
Corey Agin, 20, of East Providence, passed away Sunday, January 25, 2015. He was a political science major at Rhode Island College. He will be greatly missed. A memorial show for Corey will take place on Feb 20. For more information: facebook.com/events/1538106889774689/