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Young Achiever: Student Sierra speaks out

Powerful message: Berkeley Institute student Sierra Brangman

Berkeley Institute student Sierra Brangman is making sure young Bermudians have the chance to have their voices heard.

This month, the 17-year-old held the first in what she hopes to be a series of public talks, entitled “Sierra Speaks”, aimed at giving Bermuda’s youth the opportunity to inspire and educate each other.

She said: “It’s important for the youth. Nobody knows the youth better than ourselves, so I wanted them to hear from other young people, to change the narrative about what we think is ‘cool’.

“It’s also important that older people come out so we can break down stereotypes. I want them to see what we are capable of as the youth.” Ms Brangman, an active member of the Bermuda Youth Parliament, said the idea for the event came out of a conversation with corporate lawyer Malcolm Furbert.

She said: “I was shadowing Mr Furbert and we got into talking about the stuff I would like to do.

“I said I would like to do a sort of youth TED talk. He came up with the title ‘Sierra Speaks’.

“From there, I went out to find a committee that would help to organise the event. From there, it was all rigorous planning.”

She said the concept was to create a platform to allow the island’s youth to be uplifted and motivated.

The first event, held at the Berkeley Institute on February 10, included young entrepreneur Ciire Bean and performer Angelis Hunt.

Ms Brangman said that while “Sierra Speaks” focuses on speakers under the age of 19, the event also had a special guest presentation by Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security.

She also received additional star power from host Patrina “Power Girl” Paynter.

Ms Brangman said: “It went well. All the speeches seemed to flow seamlessly into one another even though the theme wasn’t exactly established, and everyone brought a powerful message in their own way.

She said she was worried that only her family members would be in the audience, but a few dozen people came to watch.

She added: “It was exciting to see members of the public come out. I do hope that for the next one we can get more people out.”

In her own presentation, Ms Brangman told attendees: “Your voice is the one thing people can’t take from you.

“People will try to break you in many different ways, but they will never be able to take your voice.

“No matter what, you always have the choice to speak out.”

Ms Brangman said she hopes to study law in the near future, but there is no reason the event series cannot continue even after she leaves the Berkeley Institute.

Anyone under the age of 19 interested in speaking at a future event is invited to e-mail sierraspeaksbda@gmail.com