Bryan Russell made history when he declared his candidacy for the Peruvian Congress in 2019. Entering the race in the 2020 election, he became the first person with Down syndrome to run for public office anywhere in the world. But firsts are nothing new to this twenty-seven-year-old. Five years earlier, Bryan became the first Peruvian with Down syndrome to graduate from university, where he majored in communications.
Running on a platform of equality and accountability, Bryan’s campaign aimed to bring a voice to the voiceless and made headlines around the world. Although fighting against a tide of ignorance and prejudice, his message had resonance, and his passion and charisma turned many doubters into believers. Ultimately, despite getting more votes than some who won seats in Congress, Bryan was not elected due to a complicated electoral system that requires your party to reach a threshold of the popular vote before your votes count. His incredible run is the subject of the upcoming documentary, “El Candidato (The Candidate),” which follows his journey on the campaign trail.
After the election, Bryan returned to the University of St. Ignacio de Loyola to study political philosophy and the political history of Peru. He also works as a teaching assistant at the university and volunteers for the Peruvian Society of Down Syndrome. Even as a private citizen, Bryan remains committed to being an advocate for the underrepresented communities of Peru. In Bryan’s own words, “I have a mission to accomplish in this world. I want to give hope to the people that need it the most.” His campaign advisor, Victor Abbad, adds, “This is the beginning of something great. Expect more surprises from Bryan. You can count on it!”
GLOBAL is proud to honor Bryan Russell Mujica as a 2021 Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award Recipient.