Flannery Harper is a bridge
She was quiet and little shy when she started and she's still pretty
much the same today. But something was switched on inside Flannery
Harper when she became involved with BRIDGES PeaceJam - a passion and
sense of enthusiasm that has grown steadily for two years. And today, as
a PeaceJam Leadership Team member and volunteer - and at a relatively
young age - she already realizes the great need in the community to
advance social justice through nonviolent methods of promoting peace.
Her journey with the program started in eighth grade, when two of her
teachers recommended she join the PeaceJam Leadership Team as a middle
school representative. Flannery didn’t hesitate. “I think it’s very
important, for youth especially, to start learning about nonviolent
social change in their community," she said. "Nonviolence, it’s not
really something that’s taught everywhere."
Two years later and now a sophomore at Central High School, Flannery
still exudes enthusiasm for the PeaceJam ideals. "In school, justice and
social change is not one of the main subjects offered, and it’s a great
opportunity and experience to be able to do something like this.”
In addition to serving as a facilitator for both sessions of this
past summer's PeaceJam Leadership Institute, she volunteered her
creativity. “I brought a couple of my cameras and started snapping
pictures, and now on the last day of the camp we have a showcase. One
of the workshops is to make a slideshow and a review of the whole week.”
Check out the slideshow below.
Dana Wilson, BRIDGES Director of Curriculum
Development, has worked with Flannery throughout her time in PeaceJam
and sees her as a leader and a bridge to promoting peaceful
understanding. “Flannery is quiet and strong. She is compassionate and
kind. She has transformed in the two years I have known her, found her
voice and discovered her passion and talent for facilitating other
youth," Dana says. "That is what she does well. At age 14, she could
lead a group of high school students in a two-and-a-half-hour workshop
and smile the whole time.”
Her smile and peaceful demeanor are contagious, and Flannery wouldn’t
trade her PeaceJam experience for anything.
“My favorite thing so far about PeaceJam is being able to meet all
different types of people from all over Memphis. Being able to see
change happen that you've created yourself. I'm very passionate myself
about changing stuff in the community and helping out, and this is just
great for me.”
Great for BRIDGES - and the community - as well.