WHO IS BRANDON WASHINGTON?
A Proud Memphian!
I represent Memphis with pride! I was born and raised here in the 901. Though I'm originally from Orange Mound, I have lived in many communities across Memphis. I have an appreciation for every corner of this beautiful city. I am a proud graduate of excellent public schools here as well and academic success has always been a value of mine. At age 14, I was named valedictorian of the first graduating class at Hanley Middle School. I graduated as a decorated scholar from Middle College High School at Christian Brothers University, and I now attend Rhodes College.
At 15, my life drastically changed when I entered the foster care system. Although my life was turned upside down, I did not let adversity stop me. I channeled that adversity into a passion for change. I got involved in many organizations, including Facing History and Ourselves and Youth Court, which opened my eyes wider to the inequities that impacted our communities and equipped me with advocacy skills that I continue to use.
Thanks to the help of those around me, I was selected for the Posse Foundation leadership merit scholarship to Rhodes College, where I study Russian and International Studies with a minor in Politics and Law. My life experiences have allowed me to connect with the people of Memphis more profoundly and have ignited in me a desire to walk in the footsteps of great Memphians who have come before me in the fight for justice and equality for all.
This passion, coupled with my advocacy skills, has opened the door for me to speak with local, state and national decision-makers around pressing issues that impact youth. In my role with the Tennessee Young Adult Advisory Council, I have sat down with the Commissioner of DCS regarding issues that face youth aging out of the foster care systems. These discussions have resulted in tangible solutions for foster youth; for example, one bill that I've championed would raise the age of extensional foster care so that people transitioning out of foster care receive the support they need. I also have traveled to our nation's capitol, where I spoke to the U.S. Senate Caucus on Foster Youth, NGO leaders, and lawmakers about foster care and how we can improve it. We successfully advocated expanding SNAP benefits to cover more homeless individuals, veterans, and youth transitioning out of the foster care system. President Biden signed this into law via the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023.