Bruce Franks Jr. is an Oscar-nominated former Missouri State Representative, gun violence prevention and criminal justice advocate, Ferguson frontline activist, and battle rapper.
Bruce’s life trajectory changed dramatically on August 9, 2014, the day that Michael Brown Jr. was killed in Ferguson, MO. The tragedy spurred Bruce to become a community organizer, and during this time, Bruce saw first-hand the injustices many communities faced. He also began to understand how he could be part of the solution, which led him to attend a Generation Progress #Fight4AFuture gun violence prevention and criminal justice reform event, and, later, advocate for his community as a regional organizer in the #Fight4AFuture Network. In this role, Bruce was able to lead advocacy campaigns for evidence-based approaches to address gun violence and train other gun violence prevention advocates.
Wanting to make a difference on an even bigger scale, Bruce decided to run for State Representative of his local district in St. Louis, MO. His campaign drove voter turnout upwards of 125%, leading Bruce to receive the most ever votes in the district’s primary’s history. During his time in the Missouri state legislature, Bruce was able to increase civic engagement, including voter turnout, and advocate for progressive change across Missouri. He also passed legislation to recognize gun violence as a public health issue, sponsored bills for criminal justice reform, and persuaded the Missouri House to restore 6 million dollars of funding toward the state’s youth summer jobs program in St. Louis and Kansas City, which helps the state’s most at-risk youth find employment.