leadership | August 19, 2015

“We Can End the Era of Violence in Our Cities”: Rev. Jeffrey Brown at TED2015

New Lavin speaker Rev. Jeffrey Brown received a standing ovation for his recent talk at TED2015. In this potent presentation, Brown—one of the primary architects of “The Boston Miracle,” which saw violent crime in the city drop by a whopping 79 percent—shares how ending violence demands an investment in community, and actually listening to those most affected. “We did an amazing thing for preachers,” he says. “We decided to listen and not preach.”

In a city overcome with crime, Brown realized that he had to bridge the gulf between his ministry and youth at risk. This meant reaching out to “embrace those who were committing the acts of violence: the gangbangers, the drug dealers ... We stopped looking at them as the problem to be solved, and we started looking at them as partners, as assets, as co-laborers in the struggle to reduce violence in the community.”

The solution, he found, was rooted in community all along. By acting on his conscience, he was able to mine the “assets there in the community [and] show the value of partnering together—community, law enforment, private sector, the city—in order to reduce violence.” This solution defies the inherited wisdom of “more cops, and more suppression of hot spots.” It also acknowledges a more holistic, interconnected web of cause and effect, poverty and crime, that involves broad partnership, meaningful dialogue, and collective action.

Rev. Brown’s insights have profound takeaways for policy makers and organizers in all sectors. His message of community mobilization is of special importance to all urban municipalities, but his staggering accomplishments—as part of both “The Boston Miracle” and RECAP: Rebuilding Every Community Around Peace—will inspire leaders to manage with empathy, listen deeply, and make incredible change. 

In his talks, Rev. Jeffrey Brown teaches how the best type of leadership is the kind we can do collectively. His is a stirring story coupled with powerful takeaways on how to lead, how to communicate, and how to strengthen your organization. To book Rev. Brown for your event, contact The Lavin Agency speakers bureau.

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