leadership | August 31, 2016

Have the Courage to Listen: Rev. Jeffrey Brown and the Boston Miracle

In the late 1980s and early 90s, Boston was overrun with youth violence. Gun trafficking and gang activity ran rampant, and between 1987 and 1990, the youth homicide rate more than tripled. But beginning in 1990, the trend began a curious reversal, and over the next nine years, youth violent crime dropped by an unheard-of 79 percent. The event was dubbed the Boston Miracle, and Rev. Jeffrey Brown was one of its central drivers. A pastor and founder of the Boston Ten Point Coalition, Brown reached out to gang leaders to arrange ceasefires. And instead of preaching, he listened. 


Today, Rev. Brown is the president of RECAP (Rebuilding Every Community Around Peace), where he advises cities and police departments nationwide on issues of youth violence and community mobilization. His stirring TED talk about the Boston Miracle, which received a standing ovation at TED2015 in Vancouver, is embedded below. Brown also teaches cutting-edge models for leadership with the IMF, IFC, and World Bank; assists the he US State Department on Countering Violent Extremism; and works with housing authorities to rebuild communities in distressed areas and avoid the more damaging effects of gentrification.

Jeffrey Brown: How we cut youth violence in Boston by 79 percent


The newest initiative from Rev. Brown is a book of stories and insights from his 25 years of violence-reduction efforts nationwide. It’s called The Courage to Listen, and it’s being funded on Kickstarter right now. Backers can receive (depending on amount pledged) personal notes of thanks, signed copies of the book, an invite-only workshop with Brown, and even a comprehensive Peace Audit for their community. The Kickstarter page features two brand-new videos and a powerful written appeal from the Reverend. A shining example of community leadership, Rev. Brown continues to amaze in all that he does. 


To hear Rev. Jeffrey Brown’s story of the Boston Miracle, and to learn how to bring change to your own city or community, book him for a keynote or workshop by contacting The Lavin Agency speakers bureau.

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