Our April Man of the Month is community organizer Teferi Brent.
Teferi Brent has long been a leader in Detroit's peace and justice movement. Born and raised in the city, Brent grew up around intense poverty, which served as the driver for his relentless determination to protect his community and loved ones from the generational challenges that poverty manifests. Growing tired of witnessing elders, women, and children within his community constantly subjected to trauma from multiple sources, he began mobilizing those around him to force a change of the harmful conditions they were experiencing.
Brent began serving and continues to work with several organizations that focus on equity and accountability of institutions that fail to support or work against the Black Detroiters. Over the years, Brent has poured his knowledge, passion, and love of his African roots into youth seeking a better understanding of their own identity. His work with the Isuthu Institute, one of the nation's most established African-centered Christian rites of passage program as well as Goodwill’s Flip the Script program has helped transform the lives of hundreds of Black boys and men by helping them find employment opportunities, transportation, social services, and much more. Brent’s work does not stop there. He also helped co-write the City of Detroit’s Ban The Box ordinance, which focuses on prohibiting employers from background checks prior to offering a position to a candidate. Additionally, Brent co-founded the Detroit 300, a long-standing community patrol group rooted in protecting elders, women, and children. Brent's bold activism has led to more than fifty gas stations and liquor store shutdowns across the city where the owners and/or employees have caused harm to Detroiters at the business.
“Find something that you love and are called to do,” said Teferi Brent when asked about the advice he would give to anyone who is interested in community work. “Find one thing in the work that you love that you can contribute to and do it consistently. You don’t have to do anything extreme or extraordinary. If each of us influences just one other person, it will make a world of a difference. ”
Moving forward, Teferi Brent aims to continue helping Black people become liberated, reduce mass incarceration and push for additional laws to be passed in Michigan such as the Breonna Taylor No Knock Law, Ban The Box legislation extended to private employers and the statewide 8 Can’t Wait police use of force reform policies.
To learn more about Teferi Brent, you can visit his Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/teferibrent.