“I’ve always been a competitive and curious person. From an early age, I couldn’t just settle for knowing something. I wanted to master it, to understand it better than the people teaching me. This drive to learn, ask questions and stick with something until I fully grasp it has guided me through a lot of different careers.”
“I recently began working as a Licensed Practitioner Nurse after working with the University of Florida basketball team, working in education, and even running a grill at a restaurant after college. I love getting to work with people, and being a nurse has helped me connect with a lot of different people. However, my deeper passion has always been in helping people to understand how politics affects their everyday life.”
“Like many others from the black community, I grew up as a Democrat. As I got older, I campaigned for Bernie Sanders and the democratic socialist platform. I was incredibly skeptical of ‘the other side.’ When I was training to be a nurse, I got into an argument with my roommate about politics and it made me realize that I actually did not really understand the other side of the political spectrum.”
“I started reading and asking questions. In my mind, I had a picture of conservatives as uncaring, wealthy and out of touch. Given my background, I was taught that being a conservative automatically meant you were a racist. It took a lot of time and work to push through my preconceived notions and discover what it really meant to be a conservative.”
“For me, the most important thing a community can do is take the time to understand how it all works. I support friends and family members who do the work to research and understand politics and still come to a different conclusion than me. What I don’t support are large groups of people who vote a certain way just because that’s what they’ve been told they are supposed to do. Historically, that has led to a lot of people voting for things that ultimately hurt them and hold them back.”
“America works best when its citizens are informed and educated on the issues that most deeply affect them. I have had conversations with so many people in my community who are surprised that I might vote differently than them. There’s no doubt that I have lost friends and family members. But I’ve also seen so many people open up their eyes to the fact that things are complicated and voting for anything, just because you’re supposed to, is not the best way to live.”
“I have been encouraged by many to run for office, which is something I hope to do in the future. Regardless of that, I will remain committed to asking questions, staying curious and talking with people about the things that will actually make their communities better.”
Brandon is a political activist working on grassroots campaigns in the Gainesville, FL area. He is also a traveling Licensed Practitioner Nurse.