Today we’d like to introduce you to Brea Baker.
So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I’m paraphrasing Zora Neale Hurston to say I am my Blackest when thrown against a white canvas. That was definitely my experience going from a predominantly Black and Latinx community in NY to the Iv(or)y League of Yale University. And more than the race, I began to grow a consciousness around class differences and how socioeconomic backgrounds impact one’s outlook on life. That in combination with the assassination of Trayvon Martin created a deep politicization in me. In addition to attending protests regularly and joining my campuses NAACP chapter, I was also doing a lot of independent learning on the legacy of Black revolutionaries. Suddenly, being pre-med didn’t feel right anymore.
Long story short, I switched my major to Political Science and became enthralled in a world of advocacy both on my campus and in NYC where Eric Garner had just been murdered as well. After graduating however, I wasn’t quite sure how to turn this passion into a career path. I had done really beautiful internships in politics and law but nothing pulled me in that moment quite like activism. Thankfully, after some time living abroad in Singapore, I served as the youngest national organizer for Women’s March and took a position at The Gathering for Justice where I was formally introduced to culture and activism as a vehicle for effecting change. There I worked on Colin Kaepernick’s #TakeAKnee movement, Roc Nation’s campaign to #FreeMeekMill, and many local cases of police brutality. I’m so humbled to do the work I do because I’m a student of this path and I know whose shoulders I stand on. Now serving as Director of Programs at a social impact firm, I really get to shape what we give time, energy, and resources to while also empowering people to have vetted and powerful information at their fingertips.
Has it been a smooth road?
Absolutely not! LOL. At many times — including now — I didn’t quite know what the road was. Looking back there’s a clear trajectory and I know that my steps were being ordered, but at most times I’ve been winging it and hoping to do work that matters and is in synergy with my values while also having my needs and wants met. The prevailing narrative of freedom fighters in the past is that they never got their flowers while they were living. They lived lives full of advocating for others while being ignored themselves and I am very committed to breaking that cycle. I can never push poison on my people for a check AND I refuse to go hungry doing so. Thats a very hard stance to take in a capitalist society and it’s meant turning down a lot of opportunities.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I serve as Director of Programs at Inspire Justice, a social impact firm and creative agency. We educate, organize and train celebrities, influencers and media companies to best leverage their hearts, creativity, and platforms to transform culture toward social good. This manifests in training for media companies, one-on-one political advising, creative projects with clear calls to action, and support artists in aligning their work with their values.
As a company, I’m most proud of the example we set in our own work culture. Work-life balance is a priority as is financial independence and the overall success of each member of our team! It’s so rewarding to be a part of a community that really values one another inherently as opposed to our production value. Beyond that, we work on really amazing initiatives with truly brilliant pioneers like our Co-CEO Matt McGorry, clients Dawn-Lyen Gardner, Dayna Lynne North, Karla Souza, and so so many others.
It’s clear that there’s both a need and a desire for what we bring to the table and I’m honored to be working in such a niche and rewarding field.
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I see this as only going up! Living in a digital Information Age means that we live in a time of unprecedented accountability and a need for Hollywood and media to better reflect the diversity in our communities and the role we can all take in protecting the most marginalized among us. Whether in the form of political advising in writers’ rooms, corporate training, or creating art that moves people to live up to this moment we’re in. There’s a huge need to do so from a place of both personal/lived experience and also expertise and Inspire Justice rises to that challenge.