Transformative clergyman visits campus as Richman Distinguished Fellow in Public Life
In the early 1990s, a terrible phenomenon was sweeping through Boston. There were 152 homicides and 1,100 shootings in 1990 alone. Youth violence was out of control.
The old efforts at engaging youth and combating street violence clearly weren’t working. The Rev. Jeffrey L. Brown was among a small group of Boston area clergy who pioneered a different approach. They came up with a plan: To reach out rather than pull in. To listen rather than talk. And to take to the street corners of Boston's most gang-inflicted neighborhoods in the middle of the night.
Brown visited the Brandeis campus this week as the 2017 Richman Distinguished Fellow in Public Life. He participated in a variety of activities and discussions including the annual Richman lecture at Rapaporte Treasure Hall on Wednesday.
"It was not enough to try to bring youth within the four walls of our sanctuary. We had to leave the four walls of our sanctuary. We had to meet the youth where they were," Brown said during the lecture. "And so we started to walk collectively...and as we walked we decided to listen and not preach."