By Marlee Ginter

STOCKTON (CBS13) – Putting yourself out there may not be easy, but sending a message that builds unity may be worth it.

Brandon Leake has made it clear he’s willing to take that leap. The 27-year-old from Stockton stole hearts on the national stage by telling a very personal story about the death of his baby sister. Leake was the first-ever spoken word poet to win America’s Got Talent.

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“I’ll say in the moment of doing it on the national stage, it wasn’t immensely difficult due to the years of practice beforehand,” said Leake.

His words captured the judges and drew a standing ovation. His sister passed away when he was only 4-years-old. She died from an enlarged heart at only eight-months-old.

“She was sitting in the car next to me as we were going to pick up my grandpa. She fell asleep and just didn’t wake up,” Leake told CBS13.

In his ode to his sister, he reads, “If I could trade my six feet for yours.”

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“Lines like that are what build the bridge between me and another person, and who would have thought that poetry or spoken word could do that,” said Leake. “It is not our most dire moments that define us, but instead how we respond to them. And I know my sister would be proud of the way her brother has responded to all the things that have been thrown in my way.”

Leake tells his most personal stories to connect with others and inspire people far and wide.

“From the person who lives in Wyoming in a farm town who can relate to a city kid from Stockton, California. The same way the Latino woman from Florida can relate to a young black kid from Cali,” said Leake.

He’s a young man from Stockton who’s transcending boundaries and breaking down barriers for generations to come.

“We are the storytellers of the generation, we are the griots of our time. We are the ones who, as I said, capture history. We’ll be the voices that people look back and say this is what this era looked like,” said Leake.

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Leake says his overall goal is to spread a message that creates a more loving and gracious society.