Bri Branscomb explains her journey to YG State Conference

By: Kyle Gehman

The class stands up, starts to recite with “I pledge allegiance to the flag, of the United States of America”, however, a sophomore from Leander High School stays seated.

She Bri Branscomb from the Leander High School delegation and is here for her first year debating on the House of Representatives floor. She comes from a multi-racial parent background and has strong, firm view on certain issues that she hopes she can respectfully share with other delegates.

“I think it is important for kids to be participating in democracy because we are given a right that not a lot of other countries have, and that’s a role in our government and a role in how our country will be run,” Branscomb said. “So I think if you have an opportunity to have your voice heard and open about your opinions and what you believe then you should take every chance you can take.”

For the past few months she has made the decision to not stand during the Pledge of Allegiance because of how she feels the words are not being represented.

“I’m not comfortable swearing my allegiance by saying that there is liberty and justice for every American citizen when that is a lie,” Branscomb said. “I don’t believe that everyone should sit for the pledge, and I don’t expect them to. Everyone has their own form of speaking up, and by no means does it have to be the same as mine. However, by sitting down I am taking a stand for what I believe in, and that is not something I will apologize for.”

This is her first year in the Youth and Government Program and already she has won Best Bill during the Austin District Conference. It discusses the mental health of police officers so that they may be reevaluated for duty.

“With all of these instances of police brutality in the past couple years there has been a very big rift between police and minority communities and I think that evaluating if officers are fit for duty could minimize these instances of brutality and help mend this division,” Branscomb said.

Outside of Youth and Government she is involved in her school’s newspaper as well as the theatre department. She hopes that one day she can be an actor and bring the skills that she has learned from YG into that profession.

“I think a lot of the celebrities are role models,” Branscomb said. “However, they’re not always educated so I hope that Youth and Government will help me teach people more on how our political system works and how to be more involved with not just basing your opinions off the media.”