Politically Savvy, Unapologetically Proud, a New Breed of Leaders Have Arisen and Believe Their Time is Now
They are considered members of Gen Y or Millennials; they were born between the ages of 1981 and 1994. Millennials were born into a technological world and came of age at the turn of the new millennium.
They are old enough to have experienced and comprehend such key events as 9/11, the election of President Barack Obama, the rise of social media, the O.J. Simpson trial, Hurricane Katrina, George Floyd’s murder, gay marriage, and the popularity of reality TV.
But here in Los Angeles, there is another key ingredient to the millennial generation. They are ready to lead. They have had just enough life experiences to know what, how and why they want to see certain changes within our community, and they are ready to lead this moment NOW and into the future.
Here is a look at three community leaders, all 35 or younger, who are ready to take on the challenge of leadership and are primed to be the next generation of long-term leadership within the African American community and beyond.
Two years ago, Isaac Bryan had yet to see his 30th birthday when he burst on the scene and ran to become one of the youngest members of the California State Assembly.
Many believed he was too young and wasn’t ready, but with the support of senior political leaders including then Congresswoman and now Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, then-State Senator and now Supervisor Holly Mitchell, Isaac Bryan won election as the California Assembly representative for the 55th District. Now at the ripe old age of 31, Isaac Bryan is considered to be a major player and leader in both community and state politics.
He serves on the states powerful appropriations committee, as well as public safety, Governmental Organizations and Human Services and he serves as chair of Elections, which has primary jurisdiction on elections, campaign finance, the California Political Reform Act, and redistricting procedures.
“When Isaac Bryan first came on the scene, I, like many other community leaders wondered who this young man was and was he really able to handle the job? But, quickly Isaac showed me and many others exactly who he was and within weeks, we realized he truly was a leader deserving of our support,” said Danny J. Bakewell, Sr., community leader, board chairman of the Brotherhood Crusade and executive publisher of the Los Angeles Sentinel.
Another new up and coming leader currently running for California’s 57th Assembly is 35-year-old Sade Elhawary. Sade is a community organizer, an educator, and a foster parent.
For more than 15 years she has worked in community engagement, and has made fighting for social, racial and economic justice her main focus and she says “her fight.”
The eldest of four girls, and the daughter of Egyptian and Guatemalan immigrants, Sade speaks English, Spanish, Portuguese and Arabic. She says she is proud of her upbringing and roots as a Black and Latina woman. She says she is committed to issues of equity, access, and solidarity to transform Los Angeles’ underserved communities.
“No matter where we come from or what we look like, most of us work hard for our families. But for too long, our families have been struggling living paycheck to paycheck in under-resourced communities. That’s why our campaign is fighting for progressive solutions that help our communities thrive, not just survive,” says Elhawary.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly Mitchell stated last week, “I proudly endorse Sade Elhawary to represent California’s 57th Assembly District As an organizer at the forefront of the next generation of leadership, her work is focused on improving outcomes for our youth through education and eliminating inequities in our communities. Sade is committed to putting her innovative, resourceful ideas to work for the greater good of every resident of the state.”
At a young age, Brandon became involved with various community programs, including Pasadena Youth Ambassadors and the Pasadena Youth Council. In his early twenties, he became the chair of the Youth and College Division and the 3rd vice president of the Pasadena NAACP.
Soon after, he was appointed by Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek to the Human Relations Commission where he currently serves as chair. In this position, he has led efforts in making recommendations to the Pasadena City Council on the prevention of hate crimes and encouraging Councilmembers to correct wrongdoings concerning the history of racial injustices within the city.
As a grassroots organizer, Brandon advocates and works to implement progressive policies in Pasadena. Brandon has become a powerful force for change in Pasadena, helping to pass Measure H (Rent Control), organize for a Community Police Oversight Board, partnering with local climate change groups like Pasadena 100 (organizing for 100% clean energy by 2030), and pushing for policies such as a living wage, immigrant rights, and affordable housing.
Brandon is focused on educating and engaging young leaders to get involved locally civically and politically by forming the Pasadena Young Democrats.
Brandon remains committed to the principle that people power is the key to creating lasting social change. He has worked tirelessly to build bridges between communities, and to empower people to take action on the issues that affect their lives.
Lamar, who in 2022 ran for Pasadena City Council against and was defeated by beloved Pasadena City Councilman John J. Kennedy, who later that year passed away, is now seeking to fill Kennedy’s vacated seat in 2024.
“Yes, John did defeat Brandon in the 2021 election. However, John also saw something in Brandon that he believed in. His passion and his drive to uplift his community just as John did at a very young age. He had begun working with Brandon and knew that one day he would be poised to lead District 3. I believe Brandon’s time has come,” said Lena L. Kennedy, sister of former District 3 Councilmember John J. Kennedy.
“Building a pipeline of young progressive leaders in the political space is at the epicenter of what the Black Los Angeles Young Democrats have been committed to doing over the past decade. With folks like Assemblymember Bryan, Sade Elhawary, candidate for Assembly District 57 and Brandon Lamar, candidate for Pasadena City Council District 3, we are able to see the fruits of our labor. The future in politics is ripe,” predicted Dr. Diandra “Dee” Bremond, BLAYD vice president of Political Strategy.