june, 2017

sun04jun1:30 pmRev. Jeffrey Brown: The Courage to Listen1:30 pm Humanist Community at Harvard - Hub Main SpaceProgram:Sunday Speaker Series


Event Details

Our Humanist Hub community of atheists, agnostics and allies is delighted to welcome back one of our favorite allies, to become the first religious clergy member to address our center twice! When he last spoke to us in 2014, the Rev. Jeffrey Brown was best known as a local hero whose listening-based leadership model had helped dramatically reduce youth violence in Boston over the past generation. That year, Brown introduced us to his work (he also talked about why he had chosen to fight on the humanist community’s behalf, playing a critical role in securing historic recognitions for the nonreligious in then-new Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s administration). In 2015, however, Rev. Brown’s career began a new phase of its evolution, as he delivered a TED Talk about the lessons learned along his journey thus far. His TED keynote, “How we cut youth violence in Boston by 79 percent,” garnered a standing ovation—and has now been viewed over 1 million times. Brown has since launched new national initiatives that are helping to transform communities and address crime and injustice far and wide. This summer, Rev. Brown will return to share his latest insights on how listening can transform communities– and to share his ideas about what humanists and allies should be listening to, in 2017 and beyond.

Bio: As a young pastor, Rev. 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. Today, he is is a Baptist minister and president of RECAP (Rebuilding Every Community Around Peace), a national organization that seeks to reduce gang violence by building partnerships among faith-based organizations, city governments and law enforcement agencies. He is one of the co-founders of the Boston Ten Point Coalition, a faith-based group that was an integral part of the “Boston Miracle,” a process by which the city experienced a significant decline in violent crime in the ’90s. 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. This inspired similar projects across the country, and Rev. Brown currently consults nationwide on community mobilization and combating youth violence. He 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.


(Sunday) 1:30 pm


Humanist Community at Harvard - Hub Main Space

30 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA