Pastor David K. Brawley is a homegrown blessing. The New York native recognized his call to the church at the tender age of 14 and has been moving for God and his community since.
Years ago during his years as assistant pastor (1994-2007) at St. Paul Community Baptist Church in Brooklyn, Pastor Brawley was involved in organizing social justice and preaching the social gospel. Since becoming senior pastor of the same church in 2009, he founded the Imagine Me Leadership Charter School (IMLCS) – the first all-boys charter school in the East New York section of Brooklyn – for grades K-5 and the Chionesu Bakari program which provides year-round resources to young black men. He says the idea aligns with Frederick Douglass’ quote, “It’s easier to build strong children than it is to repair broken men.”
In addition to founding faith-based organizations for young men, Pastor Brawley promotes social justice through his community as the co-chair of the Metro Industrial Areas Foundation’s East Brooklyn Congregations helping form the “Don’t Stand Idly By” gun campaign, put in motion affordable housing, public safety, education reform and more.
“Being community is so quintessential to bring change [in the community]. It is historic, in terms of the black church,” he says. “We’ve always been able to galvanize our people.”
Pastor Brawley believes creating environments of nurture, investing in institutions and creating a community feel are just a few can churches can help in shaping our future leaders and aid community change. His bold and selfless efforts make you wonder… how can we apply this method to our own churches?
Pastor Brawley on…
…on the “Do Not Stand Idly By” gun campaign to get guns off the street:
“It comes up out of Leviticus where it says “do not stand idly by when you see your brother’s blood being shed.” So one of the things we’re promoting is gun safety by way of technology. There are 30,000 deaths that occur per year by way of gun violence and one of things we’re promoting is: quite a few of those deaths can be avoided because if you just have a certain type of technology similar to a cell phone – individual recognition – if you put that same technology into a gun, that means that only the authorized user can use it. The other thing is background checks and cracking down on retailers that are getting dirty guns in the street. They should be shut down. And the federal government should leverage these contracts. Make these gun manufacturers respect us. We went to Germany to challenge gun manufacturers and their message was clear: You create a market for smart guns and that’s the gun we’ll build and sell. They also said that the loss of life in America is not their problem and so we need to make it their problem by using our dollars to make our voices heard. We think it’s a key issue and we’re grateful that President Obama and his administration have started to move in that direction and we’re hopeful for the days to come that others will join this movement.”
…on building up a generation of leaders:
“Children cannot be what they cannot see. What we’re attempting to do, for example in our all boys school, we have men who have been developed to work with our boys. We have more men in our school per capita than most schools in the city. We believe that getting men into education, getting men on the ground when it comes down to the nurture of our young sons is very key. We just think that it’s really key to have intentionality when it comes down to developing our sons. Here’s the other thing, too. I think it’s about belief. What do we really believe about this next generation? The capacity of the next generation. Do we have hope? And if we do, we need to put the resources forth. We also do something here I think is very key: We have a literacy-based summer program where we get about 200 kids off the street and keep them reading throughout the summer so that they don’t lose anything thing and are sharp by the time they get to school. I just think we have to put the resources out there, make an effort and have the belief that our next generation is capable of taking the torch.”
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