Briana Williams

2021 - NEW YORK (ROCHESTER REGION)

Briana Williams is a sophomore at School of the Arts in Rochester, N.Y. As a Teen Empowerment Youth History Ambassador, Briana embarked on an ambitious project by conducting in-depth oral interviews that captured and explored Rochester's Black history through the stories of the African American elders who had lived it. Through the lens of Clarissa Street, Briana collaboratively created the powerful documentary "Clarissa Uprooted." She then worked to help get the Clarissa Street Corridor legacy landmark designation and is co-creating an intergenerational exhibit "to allow all ages to learn the knowledge of our city in an unforgettable way anyone could visit." As she explains, this work is all about "uncovering the untold truth." Taking her passion and voice to the streets of her city, Briana's advocacy for equality put her at the front lines of several demonstrations and protests, taking part in a way that would convince her peers to get involved constructively and powerfully. Despite her youth, she has endured injury in her advocacy, but that has not stopped her from working to change history. In her words, "We are living in two pandemics — Covid and racial injustice. I will continue to use my voice, protest, and even manage to fight through my injuries. These challenges just motivate me to do more and achieve my goals." Briana states, "It is my duty to engage and educate our people of this city in order to stop history from repeating itself and to make our future a safe place for all to share our love and abolish the racist policies and systems because we keep us safe!"