Family, community service, faith: all guiding principles for community activist, mother, and mentor, Evelyn Bryant
Family, community service, faith: all guiding principles for community activist, mother, and mentor, EVELYN BRYANT.
For the past twenty-four years, Bryant has been a legal assistant/office manager for a prominent, black law firm in Wilmington. But, her passion and service toward uplifting black entrepreneurship don’t stop there. Her mission as an activist is bringing people and resources together, and she is passionate about creating social change within her community.
As a Wilmington native, Bryant knows firsthand that community building is crucial to any successful city. She also has made it her mission to be embedded in the history of Wilmington, which is why she is dedicated to the City of Wilmington Commission on African-American History and the SENC Martin Luther King Committee.
“The history of our city, specifically Wilmington’s 1898 Coup, has perpetuated systemic and internalized racism, which is a root cause of the division and lack of self-sufficiency that we see today within our marginalized communities,” Bryant says.
For this reason, she created Northside Bridge Builders, a grassroots organization dedicated to educate and uplift individuals and families who are or have experienced hardships due to unforeseen circumstances. Assisting the underserved and underrepresented are paramount.
“We will continue to do our due diligence in helping our community by providing necessary resources and advocating for those we serve,” Bryant says.
The committee, as well as Bryant, have taken steps to partner with the Northside community’s Voyage Community Council, “which will benefit both organizations by providing an opportunity to increase our capacity for serving those in need and address the root causes of the most prominent barriers within our neighborhood,” she says.
Her work as vice-president of the YWCA Lower Cape Fear’s board and chair of the joint city and county Community Relations Advisory Committee has led to women, children, and families in need obtaining resources and services they wouldn’t otherwise have access to.
“Change has never been easy and will never happen overnight, so don’t be discouraged,” is the motto that Bryant uses to continue to serve the community in a dynamic way.
Throughout her service on multiple boards including for LINC and Voyage Community Council, she still finds time to be a mother and mentor to girls throughout the community. Her daughters are the center of what drives her passion for community. Both successful, daughters Mya and Marissa Bryant are striving towards success in academics, career, and extracurricular endeavors. Bryant’s mentorship goes far beyond just being a mother. She is a mentor to many women and girls throughout the city while speaking and at professional- and community-related engagements.
Generations of women helping other women are the center of how Bryant was raised.
Her mother’s values shaped her as an individual and inspired her to do the work that Bryant does today.
“She always taught me to love, be compassionate, and care for others regardless of their status in life or what they can or cannot do for me,” Bryant says.
Those values led to Bryant making a substantial impact on the social change and community building movement happening in Wilmington.
“I find it extremely important for us to empower and uplift one another,” she says, “so that we can work together in making our community great again – one person at a time.”
Take 5 with Evelyn Bryant
How do you make time to work with the various nonprofits and community groups you’re involved with?
“It’s become a part of my lifestyle to give back to others and important causes within our community, so it’s not difficult for me to find the time. I see it as a priority.”
What’s the most rewarding part about your work and what are some challenges?
“The most rewarding part of my work is knowing that I’ve helped others and continue to make a difference within the community. The most challenging aspect is battling a broken system that is designed to make it difficult for underserved populations to access needed resources.”
Who is one of your role models?
“My mother is my biggest role model. Although she is not with me physically, she instilled very important values that shaped me as an individual and inspired me to do the work that I do today. She always taught me to love, be compassionate, and care for others regardless of their status in life or what they can or cannot do for me.”
Do you have a personal goal you’re working on?
“One of my personal goals is to pass the torch to the younger generations who are doing this work or interested in being a part of a bigger vision for their community.”
What advice would you give a young lady who wants to give back and make a difference in the community?
“Be prepared to fight the fight and never lose hope of the vision. Anything is possible.”
To view more of photographer River Bondurant’s work, go to riverbondurant.myportfolio.com.
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