Economic Justice Editor, The Real Chi
Briana is a 25 year-old from the south side of Chicago, who uses she/her/hers pronouns. She graduated from Illinois State University in 2013 with a BA degree in Journalism and a minor in sociology. Before joining Real Chi Youth, she wrote and edited for a number of progressive news organizations, including Reader Supported News and US Uncut.
Through her journalism and social media advocacy, Briana aims to "pass the mic" to tell the stories that are excluded from corporate media. She is the Economic Justice and Gentrification Reporter for Real Chi Youth at Free Spirit Media, which requires a focus on the disparate effects of oppression. She is passionate about accurately reflecting the identities and cultures of all people and exposing their truth, no matter how uncomfortable it may be.
Briana expresses herself creatively through print writing, multi-media storytelling, poetry and dance. She is interested in subjects that include the intersection of identities based on race, gender, sexuality, disability and class. Her hobbies include experiencing live music and devouring novels.
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In the early hours of the morning, hundreds of teachers and thousands of families finally got word that today would not be just another Tuesday. Unionized educators from 15 Acero charter schools walked picket lines instead of hallways today, after calling the first-ever charter school strike in American history over true sanctuary schools and better teaching conditions.
Despite similar marijuana usage across all racial groups, Chicago has seen incommensurately more arrests and tickets given in black and brown neighborhoods than in predominantly white ones, even since its possession was decriminalized in the city in 2012.
There currently exist many organizations aimed at helping Chicagoans navigate the city’s medical marijuana program, but most are sponsored by cannabis companies in Illinois and very few groups service the South and West Sides of the city. Black and brown folks stand to benefit just as much from access to cannabis as anyone else, but they are readily skipped over by many advocacy organizations.
In theory, legal possession and use of pot in Illinois could bring balance to the way it's policing disproportionately affects black and brown folks. But those communities stand to suffer the same systemic barriers in a recreational system that they already face within the medical one. With the city possibly on the brink of ending its prohibition on cannabis, Chicagoans on the South and West Sides are working to ensure that black and brown communities aren’t left out.
PERSPECTIVE: Pilsen's Cinco de Mayo parade was yanked from the calendar just six days before its May 6 kick-off date, leaving business owners and would-be parade goers in Little Village and Pilsen with nothing but questions.
PODCAST: In this premiere episode of the Real Chi’s podcast, we dive deeper into the conversation on the disparity South side students face in education, discipline and all around love from their city.
VIDEO: Hip hop dance has been rapidly gaining popularity in recent years, largely due to the advent of omnipresent social media.
VIDEO: On March 14, students nationwide walked out of their schools to stand in solidarity with Stoneman Douglas High School students in a symbolic protest for stricter gun laws in light of the Parkland, FL shooting that happened a month ago.