My name is Briana O’Neal and I’m 20 years old. I live in New Orleans, La. and I’m a youth organizer. I want to travel to South Africa so that I can receive the second part of my nonviolence training. When I receive this I would like to use my personal life story in collaboration with the truth of Dr. King and his story to promote nonviolence. I will use the training and the knowledge that I have to teach youth all over the world that there is a way to deal with violence without more violence.
Living in the city of New Orleans, that rates number 3 in the highest number of murder rates, we must educate our peers about nonviolence. I hope that one day our city can reach its’ full potential where every young person will have the chance to live past their eighteenth birthday, graduate from high school on time and where most of the jail cells will be empty of our youth and the “Youth Study Center” would be closed for good.
I first started being involved in youth organizing in 2006, when I returned to New Orleans after being displaced by Hurricane Katrina hoping to find a better school system then we had before. Instead I found that we had no books, cold lunch and overcrowded classrooms. We also had to walk through metal detectors and get searched by security for an hour each day. I joined 2 youth groups, FYRE Youth Squad and Young Adults Striving for Success, to help fight these problems. Now I’m working with the American Friends Service Committee New Orleans Project as a nonviolent leader to help fight the problem of violence among my peers with the group that we formed called Peace by Piece. As a member of Peace by Piece, I go to local middle school and high schools and train other youth in Kingian Nonviolence.
Our hard work has earned us the opportunity to travel to South Africa and represent the state of Louisiana as Young Ambassadors for Nonviolence with the delegation from the United States to South Africa from June 10-21, 2011. A donation from you will help us make a difference.
Thanks for your support,
Young Ambassador for Nonviolence