Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Belmont alumni Ryan and Kassidy Brown live by Mead’s words. Ryan graduated in 2003 with a double major in broadcast journalism and Spanish, while Kassidy graduated in 2007 as a broadcast journalism major and Spanish minor.
The Brown siblings have started their Journey of Action tour, which is dedicated to highlighting the culture of social activism in the millennial generation. As part of the tour, Ryan and Kassidy are traveling from Alaska to Argentina, highlighting young social activists. Journey of Action revolves entirely around the millennial generation and trying to move online action offline. The Browns believe Generation Y is socially conscious, but they lack daily tools for action. Ryan and Kassidy aim to inspire their generation by proving that significant change is possible.
“We basically highlight amazing members of our generation… people changing the traditional systems,” said Kassidy, who was recently named one of the “Greatest Women of the Day” by the Huffington Post.. “We have some groups who are very much social activists, and the other half is apathetic. I sign a petition almost every day on Change.org, but what am I doing offline that’s actually going to change these things?”
The Browns thought of the tour after going on a Netflix documentary binge and discovering that few documentaries featured millennials or their efforts to enact change. “No one’s highlighting the culture of social activism. We saw this void of entertainment,” said Kassidy.
To document the journey, the Browns produce weekly webisodes featuring non-profit organizations, social entrepreneurs and educational systems started by members of Generation Y that are making national or global impacts. Kassidy calls the five-minute videos “something between the reality of ‘Jersey Shore,’ ‘16 and Pregnant’ and a PBS series.”
On their journeys, Ryan and Kassidy have performed Native American chants while snowbathing in Flagstaff, Ariz., and delivered organic, fair trade coffee on bicycles in San Francisco. They have just finished a successful U.S. leg of the tour, which was sponsored by Timberland. The digital media company Take Part featured all of the Journey of Action webisodes, the Browns were highlighted on Fast Company and Planet Green’s Change Generation Series, and the siblings blogged for the Huffington Post.
Currently, Ryan and Kassidy are preparing to travel to Latin America. The Browns are raising funds on IndieGoGo.com, so they can travel from Mexico to Argentina. On the Latin American leg of the journey, they plan to highlight Pencils for Promise, Petra Nemcova of the Happy Hearts Foundation, two brothers who make sustainable toys from the Honduran jungle and Shakira, who is helping to give street children an education in Bogota. Journey of Action combines the siblings’ passions for travel, education, film and volunteer work.
“We’re trying to show that there are people out there who are literally solving problems that everyone said had no solutions. If they’re highlighted, they’ll inspire people to take action, too,” Ryan said.