Rev. Henry Brown first committed to ending gun violence on a January night in 1972. That day he had been discharged from the U.S. Army and joined family members in a Cusseta, GA, nightclub to celebrate. When a dispute flared up in the parking lot, Rev. Brown went outside to help. Thinking everything was settled, he went back inside to join his family when he saw a flash and realized that the argument wasn’t over.
Rev. Brown spent a month in a coma, but his mindset had been changed forever. He felt angry, withdrawn, depressed, unloved, and most of all, scared. But that shot also gave him new purpose.
In 2001, Rev. Brown was called to serve the Lord after an act of violence in Hartford, CT, caught his attention: The bullet-wounded face of little seven-year-old Takira Gaston, an unintended victim of a rolling gunfight between rival drug dealers, appeared on the front page of the newspaper and Rev. Brown decided something had to be done. He completed his Black ministries course at Hartford Seminary in 2006 and was ordained the following year in the Heart of God Healing Center.
Today, most people know Rev. Brown as the face of Mothers United Against Violence, an organization born in 2003 when he gathered a group of mothers together who had been affected by gun violence. For over a decade, Mothers United Against Violence has helped families devastated by violence. In that time, Rev. Brown has spoken at nearly 300 homicide sites in an effort to bring families and community members a message of hope and he has lead annual marches in Hartford every year since 2009. Through his work with Mothers United Against Violence, Rev. Brown also hosts Real Talk, a weekly call-in show on Hartford Public Access TV to which he invites community activist, pastors, law enforcement, and elected officials to offer commentary on the state of violence in the city.