Today we’d like to introduce you to Bryanna Wallace.
Hi Bryanna, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
It all started with a conversation. The murder of George Floyd was a catalyst for much of the increase in social justice activity that we saw take place in June. But for me it was a sort of reawakening. I, like so many others in the Black community, had become desensitized to the killings, harmings, and large scale brutality inflicted by our law enforcement. This hit different. We watched for 8 minutes and 46 seconds as a man’s life was extinguished in front of our eyes. I felt numb and I felt disheartened and that is when I shared a video post on my social media as to how this affected my life and my mental wellbeing. I shared this with my best friend Autumn Gupta and right away she wanted to talk. To just be there as a listening ear and sit in the dark place with me, understanding that though she could not fully empathize, she could be an ally and a friend.
Autumn and I met as randomly assigned freshman roommates at USC and much of our dynamic as friends has been built on the foundation of authenticity, vulnerability, and living and exploring our truths. After a two and a half hour call on a Saturday, Autumn realized there was so much more she could do to show up for me and the black community and that led to the making of Justice in June. It started as a resource Autumn intended to use as a learning place for herself, her family, friends and others in her circles and for me it was a way to guide people to a starting place for everyone who asked “What can I do?” “How can I be better?” and so on. The month long resource started on a Google Doc which we shared via our social media accounts and in a matter of two days, it skyrocketed and took off. We had gone viral in less than a week. We had over a million Twitter impressions, almost 200,000 people across the world accessing the resource, and thousands sharing across social media. The Washington Post wrote an article on our work and featured on Juneteenth which brought about plenty more awareness. It was insane and completely unexpected, but we realized just how much this resource was needed. So many people wanted to do something but felt overwhelmed and paralyzed by the sheer amount of aggregate resources, book lists, media tools and so on. Justice in June made it bite-sized, approachable and tangibly achievable. From there, we sought to take this moment to a movement.
Over the course of the next few months, we built upon our momentum and had great learning opportunities. In July, we partnered with a startup app- SnapHabit- to create a more modular approach similar to Justice in June but with entirely new content. In August, we hosted a book club with Ijeoma Oluo’s novel So You Want to Talk About Race in order to dive into more substantial material. In the Fall we shared our story with several audiences through a conference session, corporate speaking events, and with college students. Our platform had grown significantly and we knew how important it was to maintain the progress forward and create new ways for learning all centered around active, anti-racist allyship.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
The evolution of Justice in June has been largely smooth sailing. We have been so blessed to have such incredible support every step of the way, from our family and friends to complete strangers across the country and across the seas. The largest struggle has been our bandwidth. We are both working professionals with full-time jobs alongside our other passions and hobbies. Our commitment to Justice in June is at the forefront, however you can imagine how it may be difficult coordinating schedules across two time zones (as Autumn is in Missouri) and keeping up with the demand for more tools and conversations.
What keeps us driving forward and making the sacrifices along the way is the fact that so many people are still here. They are still willing to show up, to put in the work, and move from words to action and we will strive to continually be a bedrock for the opportunity towards progressive change and impactful healing.
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Bryanna: In my full-time professional life, I work in beauty. I am a brand manager for a professional hair product company and oversee product development, innovation, and portfolio optimization. I am most proud of the ability to take something from a mere concept to a living, breathing product on shelf. There is much work in between, but it is worth every challenge that comes along the way.
Autumn: Passion aligned with purpose. I never thought that would actually happen for me- as an undergrad, I remember listening to panelists and wondering how they could describe the “eat, sleep, do their thing, repeat” kind of love, kind of passion for their work.
I ended up co-founding a company from that class, which is listed below as “Key Learning App.” This upcoming year I will be teaching 8th grade science to learn more best practices in education, this time from the educator side instead of the student side. I’m also keen on investing my love for science in students of color, females, and any other student who has ever “hated” science simply due to a boring teacher. Starting in May 2021, I will be actively seeking a full-time job in geospatial intelligence, earth observation data, and GIS roles within the humanitarian or intelligence sectors.
Is there a quality that you most attribute to your success?
The most integral part to our success is simplifying the road to the allyship journey. Many people just need a place to start. Our ability to listen, keep our ear to the ground, and pay attention to the pain points in this space is what has allowed us to come this far and continue to develop. We are just “normal people” who found a way to use our voices and advocate on behalf of others. While our academic profiles and lived experiences inform who we are and how we execute, at the end of the day we still live our lives and strive to bring others along this journey beside us and with us.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: justiceinjune.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/justiceinjune/?hl=en
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/autumn_bry?lang=en
Bryanna Wallace, Autumn Gupta, Megan Lloyd