Genesis is an organization that prides itself on prioritizing the demands of the youth of the community. Both Audrey Byrne and Brianna Yeates are youth leaders who have pioneered discussions and actions around social change. Genesis would like to share the stories of our youth by highlighting some of their favorite times at Genesis.
Audrey is an Oakland native, and has been a part of the Genesis’ youth movement since her junior year of high school. She credits Genesis for inspiring her to learn more about education reform and restorative justice. One of Audrey’s favorite memories was the First Genesis Day at the Capitol Sacramento in 2016, a focus to push for #JusticeNotCrumbs. Audrey put together 80 bags of crumbs and the team handed them to all 80 Assembly Members to remind them to serve the community justice and not crumbs.
Audrey thanks Genesis for allowing her to speak the “truth to power” and widening her perspective around social activism. Actions like these allowed Audrey to realize that the little things matter and can make a difference. She has just finished her Senior year at Bishop O’Dowd and will be attending University of California San Diego this upcoming fall, where she hopes to pursue a career in public policy.
Brianna is a recent graduate from Gateway to College at Laney. She joined Genesis at the young age of fourteen years old. Having heard of Genesis through her grandpa, Dennis Fagaly, who is a founding leader of Genesis, she decided to give it a try. Brianna quickly fell in love with the organization's focus around accountability to the people and responsibility of citizens to speak up.
Looking back at her involvement at Genesis, Brianna finds her voice to be the most important tool in leading social change. Her favorite memory as a youth leader occurred at a youth led event about the Youth Bus program. OUSD Transportation official, was scheduled to attend but opted out of the meeting minutes before it began. As a result, Brianna encouraged those present to call the official and challenge her decision to not attend. Over a hundred calls were made calling on OUSD to respect the Youth. Actions like these fuel Brianna’s passion for social justice. Brianna will finish her pre-reqs at Gateway to College at Laney, where she will eventually transfer out and pursue a career in Art and Animation. Moreover, this summer she will be taking on an externship with Youth Radio.
The experience of youth leaders is transformative for all of us as we get to witness them using their voice in spaces where they are usually ignored. We are hopeful that both young women have learned important tools about social justice that will hopefully serve them for a lifetime.
We would like to thank Audrey and Brianna for their involvement and dedication towards Genesis. Genesis wishes you luck in your future endeavors!