Brianna is a 15 year old student, currently entering grade 11. She is an advocate for items relating to international development, such as access to clean water, which relates to many other issues in the web of development.
Brianna became involved with politics and advocating for social change, after she was in 7th grade because she found out she would not be receiving her report card for the year. This enraged the then 13 year old Brianna, and she decided to protest this. Brianna describes her household as a place where politics was never hidden. She describes her mornings always having Talk Radio playing and 6:00pm News always on, and it helped influence her to be drawn to politics and social issues. Brianna also recently had the opportunity to participate in the 2018 Ontario Model Parliament Program at Queen’s Park. She also is a member of her school’s student council, and was featured as a Human of TDSB.
Recently Brianna was a part of the organizing committee of youth to host a Cross Canada youth consultation and collect data to figure out what youth want on their new youth policy that we’re getting in Canada!
One major opportunity that helped assist in her advocacy journey is becoming a youth ambassador with World Vision. Brianna became a youth ambassador in ninth grade, and her passion for helping others who can’t speak up for themselves has only grown. Some opportunities Brianna has had through World Vision include, attending the OCIC & World Vision and Fair Trade conference discussing Canada’s connection to child labour, spoke on World Vision Youth Panel, as well as helped to organize an Advocacy Workshop partnered with World Vision to teach youth how to approach politicians and decision makers and bring forward their concerns.
Brianna has also participated in the Live Like Alex water walk and had an article published on the importance of access to clean water and explaining the water walk.
Access to clean water is one of Brianna’s biggest passions. "I was born into a loving home, and an amazing country. I’ve never had to face any extreme hardships like some people around the world need to endure every single day. If I’m thirsty, I can turn on the tap to get a drink of water. Women and children in developing countries need to walk an average of 6 km per day to get water that isn’t even guaranteed to be clean.
Knowing that others don’t have it as easy as we do and that there’s something that we’re able to do to help others out and better their lives is what inspires me. I want to get to a point where every girl is educated, and that no child has to go to bed hungry. It’s important to me that we take care of each other, and advocate for those who may not be able to advocate for themselves."
As an advocate and a young person involved with advocacy and world issues, she has faced backlash because of her age. "I find that it’s really difficult to get people to actively listen and take young people seriously. I think the world of politics is becoming more inclusive to youth, but we still need to work 10x harder than somebody of an older generation to have our voices be taken seriously.
Once you break through that initial ‘’Shouldn’t you be in school?’’ mindset, then I find that our voices are finally recognized as irreplaceable assets. We bring different perspectives and innovative proposals to the table that nobody is able to think of… and that’s awesome!"
In the future Brianna is looking forward to continuing on her journey with International Development and mobilizing youth to make a difference in the world!
To all the young people in the world who are looking to make a change Brianna says…
"Reach out to people who can help you, and make sure that you’re always learning.
Sometimes you can’t do it all, and you’ll need help- don’t be afraid to ask for it!
Mentors and learning from those who have experience is the best way to further your cause, and yourself. Experience is key, connections are gold, and knowledge is power."
‘’Everything happens for a reason’’ because I’m a giant believer in that. I really believe in the fact that everything that happens to you is preparing you for whatever adventure life is preparing to throw at you.
I acknowledge that I’m speaking from a place of privilege, but it seems to have stayed a constant throughout my life.