Jimmie Briggs knows what it means to be a survivor. For the last two decades, this award-winning journalist and human rights leader has been revealing the struggles of children and youth, domestically and abroad–especially boys navigating the journey to manhood in the world today. A National Magazine Award finalist and recipient of honors from Barnard College, National Association of Black Journalists, Women’s eNews, and the Carter Center for Mental Health, Jimmie has produced seminal reporting from across the globe on the lives of war-affected youth, children soldiers, and survivors of sexual violence. He revealed even more in his 2005 book, Innocents Lost: When Child Soldiers Go To War, after which he was named United Nations Goodwill Ambassador and Special Envoy to Children in Armed Conflict. He also serves on New York Mayor Bill De Blasio’s Commission on Gender Equity.
Jimmie is also the Co-Founder of the Man Up Campaign, a global movement to engage youth in ending gender-based violence and advance gender equality, for which he was voted winner of GQ Magazine’s “Better Men Better World” Search in 2010. His upcoming book, Blood Work, is a personal memoir of transformation and re-defined manhood, which includes sharing his own health-related struggles after suffering a heart attack four years ago, resulting in kidney failure. Jimmie has spoken to a wide range of audiences, from the United Nations to the Boys & Girls Club, to talk about masculinity and manhood, sexual violence, children soldiers, mental health, illness, and survivorship. His true gift on stage is storytelling, not only bringing stunning narratives to his audiences, but doing so with a humility and personal resonance that never leaves you.
Being a real man means being vulnerable.
As a student of international affairs, I have studied global atrocities on a daily basis for years, reading books, writing essays, and attending class lectures about poverty, disease, environmental degradation, war, and human suffering...But when I heard Jimmie Briggs speak, I saw these realities in a whole different light. I felt them.