You probably aren’t familiar with the name Briona Butler yet and that is through no fault of your own. However, the Grinnell College graduate has a brilliant mind and is not only preparing to impact the lives of our children but the way that they learn as well.
Briona was instrumental in the creation of WISE Club back in 2012. She attended Benjamin Banneker High School in Washington D.C. in which Neil Irvin was the facilitator of the weekly MOST Club meetings. Although the club is targeted towards young men, it managed to garner her attention and eventually led her to ask Neil if some of the females could sit in on a couple of the meetings.
“I like how the onus wasn’t on women to secure their safety,” Briona says, “The club promoted prevention, healthy relationships and not just being an active bystander.”
Despite her infatuation with how well the club ran and its effectiveness, she didn’t want to emulate the exact model for the WISE Club. Young women encounter different problems so alternative methods should be employed in order to reach them.
When asked how WISE should differ from MOST and what she would like to focus on, media literacy was her first response.
“The media can be so insidious, by obtaining a strong mind and knowledge of self we can help improve our self-image.”
After graduating from Banneker, Briona attended Grinnell College in Iowa on a Posse scholarship. She graduated with a major in Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies due to a passion that’s inexplicable. During her senior year at Grinnell, Briona had an epiphany and realized her ultimate goal is to start her own school.
“It’s been building up for a minute,” she says, “I’ve always been interested in the youth and education but I didn’t know how to articulate it.”
“My school will be holistic!” she exclaims when asked to define her dream institution. “Black kids need to play music, understand nutrition, and learn actual history. More importantly, “they need to know how to think and express themselves and manifest!”
She’s now back with the program that she helped start but this time as a consultant. Her current tasks entail helping shape the curriculum for the current WISE Club members and she is also in charge of operating multiple social media platforms for MCSR as well.
So what does success look like to Briona when it’s all said and done? “Money to eat well, travel, be happy and the tools to create whenever I want.”
Kendl Gordy graduated from St. John’s University with a B.S. in journalism. He has covered multiple Division I sporting events, the U.S. Open and the New York City Marathon. The relationship between Kendl and MCSR manifested itself during his time at Benjamin Banneker High School in Washington D.C. as a MOST Club member. He is now continuing his writing career with our organization as a contributing writer on current events and cultural issues.