HomeThe StoryThe PlayersThe ProgramsFrequently Asked QuestionsPress RoomResourcesContact Us
Reason for this SiteWhats on this SiteWho We Are
Boston Strategy Quote
clergy
Mayor
  Police
Probation
Prosecution
Academia
Clergy
Rev. Jeffrey Brown
Rev. Ray Hammond
Rev. Eugene Rivers
Mark Scott
Streetworkers
Jeffrey BrownReverend Jeffrey Brown
Pastor, Union Baptist Church
Ten Point Coalition


 Another myth that was dispelled was that these kids were cold, completely emotionless. That's how they could be cold-blooded killers. I found that these kids had a whole range of emotions and I think that was what revealed my own demonization of them as individuals. That once you took off the big heavy coat and pants that droop all the way down to their knees, and all of that, you had 13, 14, 15, 16-year old kids, generally young men, looking for mentors, father figures, mother figures.

 What I liked about the early days of the coalition is that we would go out and we would walk the streets and then we would come back and we'd talk and we'd reflect on what we'd seen. It became a central focus of ideas and formation of new theologies. I always say to my congregation that my most profound theological conversations were on the street corner, not in seminary, but in a park talking to kids.

 But then I think the police realized that we could see things that they couldn't see. Back in those days, a Gang Unit officer would see 23 Magnolia Street gang members. But because we were out there, and we would get to know these kids on another kind of level, we could say to them, "No, they're not all gang members out there. There ARE gang members out there, maybe 13 of the 23 you just saw. And of that 13 there were about 4 that are hard-core." But we were able to, with another pair of eyes, give the police officers a chance to really view a street in a way that would make what they were trying to do–community policing–work.

 I think the overall reason why I got involved was because I was called to do so by God. I believe that the Lord steered me towards this ministry, gave me a passion to deal with youth. Secondly, I saw that it was central to where the church should be at this time. Boston was just like every other major city now, blowing up with violence and if churches which preached about hope on Sundays didn't figure out a way to provide that hope for these kids, then all the cities would go up in flames. So I saw it had to be a central part of the ministry.

 The only way that we're able to do it is when we're able to recognize the interconnectedness that we have with one another. That the very definition of community means we must know one another in ways in which we can affect each other in profound ways.

 When we talk about this collaboration of clergy and police, it really is like a table at which everybody had a seat to that table. And if you look at the legs as the roots of violence, you can talk about the economic roots of violence, and the social roots of violence. We discovered there were moral and spiritual roots to the violence as well, and that if we all came together and dealt with the aspects that we were more than likely going to have to deal with, that together we can resolve these problems.

home | story | players | programs | faq | press | resources | contact | credits | help | sitemap

© Copyright Robert Wood Johnson 2001. All Rights Reserved.