Rev. Jeffrey Brown was one of the key architects behind the “Boston Miracle,” which saw the violent crime rate among youth plummet by 79% over a decade. Today, he works with faith groups, cities, government, and police to stop gang violence as the president of RECAP and co-founder of My City at Peace. He speaks on “collaborative leadership,” community building, and what it takes to institute real change in organizations of all stripes.
“Reverend Brown’s groundbreaking work provides concrete evidence of what can be achieved when committed individuals work together to bridge divides. His work shows us the way to a world in which social justice is an active practice, not an abstract concept.”— Ron Liebowitz, Brandeis University President
At TED 2015, Rev. Jeffrey Brown’s keynote garnered a standing ovation—and has since been viewed over 1 million times. Rev. Brown is currently the president of RECAP, which stands for Rebuilding Every Community Around Peace. He is also a co-founder of the Boston Ten Point Coalition, a faith-based group that was an integral part of the famous “Boston Miracle,” during which the city experienced a 79% decline in violent crime among youth from 1990 to 1999. That includes 29 consecutive months of zero juvenile homicides. The efforts also spawned countless urban collaborative efforts in subsequent years, and was widely covered in the press.
Rev. Brown is also the host of the podcast The Courage to Listen, available on iTunes, Google Play, and Feedburner. Each episode offers stories and insight from the people—clergy and politicians, former gang members and street workers—striving to reduce violence. And each episode discusses timely issues such as community-police relations, the Black Lives Matter movement, gang-based mindsets, urban unrest and protest, and more.
Rev. Brown consults municipalities and police departments (and policing initiatives) nationwide on issues around youth violence and community mobilization. He helps rebuild trust between neighborhoods and police departments, speaking with officers to strengthen their ties to the communities they serve. He has worked with the US State Department on Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) initiatives, based on his nationally recognized success with developing robust violence prevention and intervention strategies. As part of the Society for Organizational Learning North America, Rev. Brown also assists the World Bank, IMF, and IFC with senior leadership development and learning, teaching cutting-edge models for leadership, problem solving, flexibility, and adaptability.
As co-founder of My City at Peace—a community-based, collaborative organization that builds alliances between conflicting constituencies to find peace and end violence—Rev. Brown has also been working with housing authorities to rebuild communities in distressed areas and avoid the more damaging effects of gentrification. In order to attract buyers, while still retaining low-income residents, Brown argues for a combination of market-rate, affordable, and Section 8 housing.
For his service, Rev. Brown was named the 2016-17 Brandeis University Richman Distinguished Fellow in Public Life.
Listening to Make Change Leadership Lessons from Rev. Brown
As a young pastor, Rev. Jeffrey Brown was dismayed to see his Boston community disintegrate around him, as gang-related violence and drugs pushed kids into lives of crime and addiction. As a leader behind the “Boston Miracle,” Brown saw the first stage to improving the neighborhood was to listen to the kids affected—and not simply preach to them—and thereby equip them with the tools to decrease community violence. Listening to make change is just one of the many leadership strategies Rev. Brown has picked up along the way, and he shares them in this talk. The best type of leadership is the kind we can do collectively, he says. It’s a stirring story coupled with powerful takeaways on how to lead, how to communicate, and how to strengthen your organization.
Rebuilding Cities Restoring Healthy Communities in Distressed Areas
To Rev. Jeffrey Brown, it doesn’t have to be this way. Through his organization My City at Peace, Rev. Brown collaborates with housing projects and local authorities to rebuild communities affected by violent crime. But he wants local residents to experience this revival, too. He wants people to see the growth and healthy flourishing of their own neighborhoods, and see these new eras of peace sustained. In this inspiring keynote, Rev. Brown advocates for mixed-use communities, made up of market-rate, affordable, and Section 8 housing: communities of greater class integration, harmony, and co-operation, and more meaningful communication and leadership across all sections of society.