Eli J. & Phyllis N. Segal Citizen Leadership Program

Brandie Garcia

2024 Brandeis Undergraduate Segal Fellow

Brandie Garcia (any pronouns) is a Brandeis MLK Fellow majoring in Latin American, Caribbean, and Latinx Studies and an independent interdisciplinary major in Black Music Studies with a planned Theater Arts minor in the works. Described prior as a “Chelsea Champion” in their hometown of Chelsea, Massachusetts, a low-income and majority-Latino community, Brandie was exposed to many influential non-profit organizations such as La Colaborativa, The Neighborhood Developers, and GreenRoots, that aimed to give justice to its residents. Primarily working in the community in regards to tenant and worker rights education, Brandie gained many skills organizing within these social movements, but fell in love with one primarily – community outreach. Fortunately, they were able to combine their passion for the arts with this vital skill when they joined Boston Children’s Chorus (BCC) in 2019. Quickly exposed to a higher level of music education, Brandie began questioning why they did not have as much access to a thorough arts education in Chelsea. Thus, Brandie sought to close the music education gap within the Greater Boston community alongside BCC, assisting the development of a partnership between Chelsea Public Schools and the Boston Children’s Chorus that would grant access to local elementary students to an affordable and thorough music education that they would otherwise not have access to. Through their studies of Black music at Brandeis, they have better understood the arts as not only as a tool for self expression, but also a historical means of change. Therefore, Brandie does not view the lack of access to proper and thorough arts education as only furthering the education gap to those who have been disadvantaged, but also a mode of oppression to censor radical thought that has historically been proven to transform the minds of the American masses time and time again. As a Segal Fellow, Brandie is excited to gain the skills to create a better and more just education for arts education to prosper, both inside and outside of the public school system.