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Rest in Power: Brandon Harrison

Rest in Power: Brandon Harrison

CPEHN staff were tremendously saddened yesterday to learn of Brandon Harrison’s death. Last year, Brandon served as one of our powerful speakers at the Youth Leaders Plenary during CPEHN’s biennial conference. Kimberly Chen, CPEHN’s Government Affairs Manager, had the unique privilege of facilitating that conversation. Kim writes:

Brandon Harrison was one of several promising youth leaders I got to interview at last year’s CPEHN conference in Los Angeles. Brandon talked about the important work he was doing collecting data about youth homicides in Stockton and his work challenging policymakers including the Chief of Probation to adopt more restorative justice policies. He captivated the stage with charm and candor.

From the way he took control of the microphone to his fresh suit complete with a purple bowtie, Brandon had a mission and purpose – to share his story—and made sure we heard him. He was reflective about the cards stacked against him, yet insightful about the role he hoped to play as a leader for his community.

Brandon listened intently, nodding along to the wisdom shared by his peers. Before he spoke, he would lean back ever so slightly, almost as if he were checking to see if you were listening. He spoke with purpose, humor and charm.

Brandon’s hopes and dreams were things too many of us take for granted. To attend college. To give back to his community. To travel and see the world. To raise his children and watch them grow up.

He asked for our support, for our trust, and to one day let him and others like him lead. We agreed and followed as he led us in a closing rally that morning.

Brandon was prophetic. He worried what perils might come from staying in the very place he hoped to serve. “In Stockton,” Brandon said, “92% of the homicides are young men of color.” When, not if, would it happen?

We are deeply saddened by his loss. We send our heartfelt thoughts and prayers to his family. We hope for a better future where our young leaders have the opportunity to live their full lives.

Rest in Power, Brandon.

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