Bria Dantzler is a native South Carolinian from Columbia. She is a May 2018 graduate of College of Charleston where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Public Health with Chemistry and Spanish minors. During her college years she determined her passion for social justice and African American history which continues to guide her efforts in her community. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated and was announced as the 2017-2018 NPHC President of the Year while the Lambda Omicron chapter earned 10 out of 15 Greek Borelli Awards. As well, she was named Outstanding Student of the Year for the School of Education, Health, and Human Performance, and is a Humanities and Social Sciences Scholar for her academic excellence and community involvement. Her earning of the prestigious Theodore Stern Cup at the S.A.L.A. Awards granted her the opportunity to be a commencement speaker at her college graduation where she spoke about racial injustice and political activism. In October of 2017, the mockery of Freddie Gray’s death by two white students at The College pushed her to write an open letter to the City of Charleston and College of Charleston community which lead to the creation of a Campus Climate Response Team, a change in the Student Code of Conduct for hate and bias violations, and a mandatory diversity module for incoming students. In May of 2017, she founded Luminescent, Community Outreach Organization which was named Best New Student Organization at The College and hosted more than 10 events in its first year. She has presented, From a Retweet to a Call to Action, at state conferences and workshops to discuss the role of social media in social justice. She is currently working for the James Smith for Governor campaign as the Lowcountry Regional Political Director. Bria is active in her community and encourages others to do the same for the work of social injustice is incomplete. She plans to attend graduate school in 2019 to pursue a J.D. and Masters of Public Policy.
"If you stand for nothing you’ll fall for anything."
Check out Luminescent, COO -
A community outreach organization that encourages collegiate students' personal progress by virtue of its commitment to community enrichment
What are you passionate about and at what point/incident in your life did you recognize this passion is the key to your true path?
"As a young girl I dreamed of being a politician because I noticed that they made all the rules but I was steered away from this path and pushed into medicine. I excelled in the field of study but I knew my heart wasn’t in it. I began to explore majors and campus opportunities while in college to rediscover my passion. From there I uncovered the environmental realm of Public Health and fell in love. I found a deep misunderstanding for how anyone could use Mother Nature to poison and debilitate large populations of persons. I knew my purpose was to do more with my life and give back but medicine wasn’t the way, law and policy was. I also rediscovered myself and in doing so I learned that my passion for social justice was a lifestyle. I became to know and understand the African American struggle in America by taking classes, reading books, and conducting my own research. In 2015, the death of the Emanuel Nine one block from where had lived a month before broke my heart into pieces as I had just toured the church with one of my classes. Their injustice fired my passion from within as I wept. Throughout my college experience I channeled that very energy and I was placed into opportunities to create impactful change in my communities and pursue the fight of social justice."
How do you use your passion to illuminate change in the world?
"After the 2016 Presidential election I felt the need for something to be done and I took the initiative to do so by founding Luminescent, Community Outreach Organization which encourages collegiate students personal progress by virtue of commitment to community outreach at local and national levels. The organization has three Illuminating Initiatives that grew from my own passions and guides our efforts. They include: mentoring, environmental justice, and the provision of educational resources. Luminescent, COO is my vessel to inspire others to illuminate themselves while illuminating their communities just as the definition of luminescent is the emission of light due to energetic atoms. College students have been the backbone of change since the Civil Rights and Black Power movements and that momentum must not end. Luminescent, COO is a clear representation of my passions as I hope to inspire others to work together and be active in their community in order to illuminate the world. Collegiate students are challenged to do more, give back, and incite ideas based upon their talents and understanding of various communities. Beyond my organization, I will pursue an environmental law career focusing on environmental justice and litigation. Soon after I begin my practice I will enter the political realm and pursue my passion of public policy. The law of the land must be changed as it often protects the system created to tear down persons of color but slowly a surely that will be changed."
If you could leave one lasting impression on others what would it be and why?
"When anyone walks away from talking to me or hearing about my work I wish to inspire them to do more for themselves and in their communities. Everyone has their own talents, strengths, and weakness and they make us who we are and determine who we will become. As a Black woman, I have been inspired by my ancestors and their resilience in every generation to provide for themselves and push for the equality they deserved. Along the way they inspired others to join the movement. I wish to continue that momentum today. We are all capable of inciting change and carrying the message that cannot be televised but we may need a spark that ignites each of us differently. In all of my work I hope that I can be the spark that inspires someone to question their own purpose and abilities. They will begin to think of how to add to the movement and do more for others as they find their calling, passion, and purpose. I find that my purpose is to aid others and build communities of change. If I can inspire others to do just that then I have completed my calling."