Brandon Leake: Making a Difference Through Art
The city of Stockton has a very negative reputation of violence and crime, but some people are making an effort to make a positive difference in the community. One of those individuals is Brandon Leake, a spoken word poet and Stockton native who wants to use art to make a change in the city of Stockton.
Brandon Leake shared with the Pacifican ways in which he is already giving back to the Stockton community and making a difference. “The past three years, I have gone to San Joaquin Elementary School and have taught their spoken word poetry workshop for three weeks with their seventh and eighth grade class,” shared Brandon, “I have also gone to every single high school in town, as of so far, at least once a year and have been involved with their Black History Month program, and done spoken word poetry there, and done workshops with their Black Student unions.”
“If you want to get involved with what I’m doing, then by all means, you can get involved through multiple facets, I have a couple of guys, one of them goes here [University of the Pacific], Cleve Brown, Communication ‘18. He’s actually going to be a part of my film team, and so we’re going to be making short films and YouTube videos, things of that nature. I’m trying to work with your guys’ jazz orchestra, for my next album. And I would love other writers who would like to develop a workshop over at the teen center, so that way the weeks that I’m not there, someone else can be there filling in, and they can be working with the kids.”
His experiences as a black man has impacted his art, “Being a black man, I get the opportunity to have an outlet, especially in 2016 there was a bunch of need for that, with all the police shootings, but, also the challenge comes with the desire to share a story, but feeling you have an obligation that you have to share a particular story.”
“I’m a Black man who’s had run ins with the police, and a vast majority of them were extremely positive. I got pulled over because my tags were expired, and they were expired. I deserved the ticket. I got pulled over because I was speeding, I was 15 over the speed limit trying to get home. I deserved the ticket.”
However, he does remember one negative experience, “The only time I ever had a negative interaction with the police was in my freshman year of high school, where I got called a ‘nigger’ and a ‘boy,’ by a police officer, and that’s the only thing people want to care about. But I want to be representing my faith well, because where Jesus and God is; there is also grace, and forgiveness, and there is always second chances.”
Pacific students should definitely check out Leake and his non-profit organization Called To Move. Making a positive change to Stockton, then you should check out Brandon Leake and consider getting involved in this diverse city that many from Pacific have started to think of as home.
PC: Ray Wong