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photo by Amanda Morrall
Brandon Bell discusses his new grassroots organization, Wisdom From the Field, and his upcoming event honoring youths we’ve lost to violence in the community.
Their names run the gamut--from Emmett Till to Treyvon Martin, from regrettably notorious to painfully obscure—the list of hundreds of thousands of slain Black youth in urban communities spans the centuries and continues to grow. Some are recognized briefly in mainstream media and quickly forgotten. Brandon Bell is working tirelessly to counteract that. On February 16th at 5p.m., he and his community outreach organization—Wisdom From the Field—will host the Lost Youth Candlelight Vigil in Leimert Park. The event will honor children who died before their time.
“We saw Treyvon Martin,” exclaims Bell. “We saw Jordan Davis. He was a 17-year old who was killed in a gas station in Florida for playing his music too loud. It’s absurd that this could be used as a legitimate argument simply because of the color of his skin.”
Bell, 23, will be compiling a list of names and stories of individuals around the country who were murdered. He has also opened the list to anonymous community submissions, allowing anyone who has lost someone to honor their loved one in front of the Leimert Park fountain.
“We are going to read off each name, and with every name there will be one lit candle,” Bell says.
Bell, an Inglewood native who graduated from Princeton two years ago, has always wanted to make a lasting impact on the global and local community. With Wisdom From the Field, he provides insightful Black history information that might otherwise be forgotten, as well as scholarships for young Black high school seniors. He funds the scholarships from his own pockets. There is no GPA requirement, but students must have a strong desire to give back to the community and attend a four-year university during the Fall semester.
“What we’re doing is educating, enriching, and empowering the community through an embracive unity and an emphasis on understanding Black history,” Bell stresses. Anything in society can be fixed if we come together instead of having these fragmented voices here and there, and getting together only when the media tells us to. We can essentially take control of what’s happening in our streets and our community.”
For information on more upcoming events, visit Wisdomftf.com.