Brian Davis is a jack of all trades. The 21-year-old is triple-majoring in African American Studies, Criminology and Sociology, and takes pride in his involvement on campus through humanitarian study abroad trips, public speaking and even heading a TED Talk this semester. Davis seems to have done it all, and Valley had the opportunity to chat with him about his accomplishments, finding his identity and how he hopes to change the world.
The Philadelphia native has his own website chock full of his awe-inspiring accomplishments, such as creating the All-In movement, and being the president of the Social Justice Coalition, just to name a few. When it comes to juggling his busy schedule, Davis talks about how his motivation for involvement and change stems from his life back at home.
“I survived a rough neighborhood,” says Davis. “When I got to Penn State is when I truly found my identity… it sparked this energy in me that will never die. Just to know that I inspire people back at home, that really keeps me going. To show them that somebody from the same place can do amazing things, it helps resonate with them that this is something that can happen.”
Davis has a passion for social justice, and has organized many on-campus protests here at Penn State. When the Flint Water Crisis came about, he created a university-wide initiative to deliver over 5,000 bottles of water to Flint, Michigan. The cause ignited his passion for outreach, and when funding became an issue, Davis and fellow students took matters into their own hands and organized a road trip to Michigan in order to personally deliver water door-to-door.
Within all of his success, Davis believes discovering his identity was what ignited his drive to do anything and everything he could set his heart and mind to.
“Who is Brian in the dark when nobody is watching? That’s the person who I was trying to figure out,” Davis tells Valley. “When I was 15, I wrote my goals for when I’m 30 because I realized that you can speak things into existence. When I started getting involved on campus, I could see things from a different perspective. We have to hold ourselves accountable for the results we want, we can’t just expect things to be given to us.”
That search for who he was allowed him to find his passions, and Davis hoped to guide others to finding that truth, as well. He created “The Penn State Treasure,” an ongoing publication on multicultural resources here on campus in order to provide tips for success for all students. This past January, he ran his own TED Talk on police brutality, a topic close to his heart, through the imagery of basketball.
With hopes of being a teacher in the future, he also plans to eventually work for the United Nations while also publishing his own books. The revenue made from his publications will go to schools back at home in hopes that children will be able to have the opportunities he has been able to obtain.
Davis is a symbol of reinvention. Aside from seeing the good in the world, he wants to help create the chain reaction that spreads it. He is an inspiration for all to get involved with their passions and to use their voices to speak out for what they believe in.
When asked what message he hopes to spread to others, Davis mentioned self-discovery. “The most important thing during this journey of trials and tribulations is we have to identify what makes us happy and what we love to do. We have to give up who we are for who we want to become.”