• Lillie Burke

BU alums embark on ‘Journey’

As a generation with unlimited access to the Internet, today’s young adults are not as connected as they could be. For two local siblings who are part of that generation, realization of the disconnect inspired a journey of more than a 15,000 miles through 14 countries in six months.

Belmont alumni Kassidy Brown, 25, and Ryan Brown, 30, created Journey of Action, a webisode project to entertain, educate and inspire social activism within Generation Y, the Millennial Generation. The two want to use the Internet to reach their target audience of 18- to 34-year-olds and to let them know they have the power to become active citizens and change the world.

“We believe our generation goes to the Internet for their entertainment and for their news,” Kassidy said about using today’s technology for their project.

“We highlight amazing members of our generation based on the belief that our generation is socially and environmentally aware, but they lack daily tools for action,” she said. “At the same time, there are so many members of our generation who are doing incredible things, who we’re saying are changing the traditional systems of business, non-profits, and education.”

Kassidy and Ryan began the journey last fall in Alaska, traveling in a short blue bus fueled by veggie oil. They filmed a webisode series that featured individuals currently creating change in those traditional systems, and they blogged about their experiences with social activism in different cultures.

They met Mike Zuckerman, of San Francisco, who is striving to make his local nightclub the most environmentally efficient nightclub in the world. They met a Navajo musical group called Blackfire, of Flagstaff, Ariz., who let them experience snow bathing, a traditional cleansing in the year’s first snowfall.

By creating short-form videos on a weekly basis, Journey of Action can have a more direct impact, keeping the momentum going instead of having just a one-time, short documentary, Kassidy said.

The U.S. segment of the tour, sponsored by Timberland, consisted of 11 areas where change-makers are making a local impact. In addition to San Francisco and Flagstaff, they spent time in Juneau, Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, Phoenix, the Navajo Nation, San Antonio and New Orleans.

Ocean conservation in Juneau and community building in Portland are some of the themes Kassidy and Ryan formed.

Within the next month, they plan to launch the Latin American tour. They will have new sponsorship and will travel to Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina, Ryan said.

Currently raising funds on IndieGoGo, Kassidy and Ryan plan to continue their web series sharing the stories of young Americans making local impacts traveling abroad.

But their journey will not stop in Argentina. Having the opportunity to speak directly with college students about social activism is next on the Browns’ list.

“We have not had the opportunity to speak at universities or go speak at community centers about what we are doing, which is something we definitely want to do when we return from Latin America,” Kassidy said. “We would like to go on a college speaking tour. I know that we will.”

They believe a speaking tour would be an important element of spreading the word about Journey of Action’s mission.

“We had a really tight schedule, having three months to go from Alaska to New Orleans,” Ryan said. “It was time constraining, but I feel we’ll have a lot more to say after we are done with the Latin America portion of the tour.”

Kassidy and Ryan think college students would benefit the most from hearing about their experiences on the Journey of Action tour.

“College is such an impressionable time to learn about the world and what you can do to change it in a non-biased way,” Ryan said. “I feel there is some innocence still there, and it’s a great time to experience change.”

Kassidy and Ryan’s journey has taken them around the world to learn about social issues. They hope to pass this information on to a generation that can mold it into phenomenal actions that can forever change the world.

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