Reentry Specialist, Founder WTWC
"I was honest, I told them about my troubled past and that I just needed an opportunity to change my life."
When you meet Lebrian Brown it’s hard to believe, he was once a troubled youth going down the wrong path heavily affiliated with one of America’s most known gangs. His ties with the street gangs started at a very young age. His level of commitment, and initiating others in the gang, allowed him to quickly move up the ranks and become a lower level leader. At the time “I felt, I had something to prove”. He was introduced to the gang life from an older sibling and wanted to be respected and treated as an equal. He soon learned that gang life was more dangerous than a young teen could ever comprehend. He began to have issues with other gang members and soon received death threats. He confided, in his father and was given an ultimatum, to join the military or go away to college. He chose the ladder and took the SAT and to his surprise scored high and was accepted into a historically black college.
It was at Lincoln University where Brown’s life changed forever, he was no longer a troubled youth but an aspiring college student with his whole life ahead of him. He never imagined in a million years, he would experience his first legal battle in the same University, that changed his life. He had been dating a young woman while he was attending college and she had become pregnant. A few short months after his daughter Niema, whom he calls his Guardian Angel was born. Her mother abandoned her, leaving her outside a housing project. “I was a college student; I didn’t have any money or resources or was expecting to be a single dad”.
“I didn’t have any other choice”. Lebrian began stealing baby clothing and other items for his daughter at local department stores. He was caught and apprehended and when the judge realized that all the merchandise was baby clothing, he learned that Lebrian had just become a single father and he was shown mercy.
However, this wasn’t the end of Lebrian’s legal trouble and he soon found himself serving several years in prison. His troubled past caught up with him and he was placed in protective custody while in prison due to threats from gang members that wanted to kill him due to him leaving the gang.
Upon his release, he was determined to make a better life and provide some stability for his daughter and re-enrolled in Lincoln University Master’s program and received an MBA. Lebrian’s daughter was known as the “Lincoln Baby” and she would often attend classes with him while he was at the university obtaining his degree. After graduation, Lebrian moved to Philadelphia in pursuit of a new career and new life. He reflects on the opportunity he received a few years ago that changed his life forever and helped him to establish his life as a single father.
“I used my last $20 dollars to get a shape up, I didn’t have any money to buy a suit, so I wore what I had”. He laughs as he reflects on how out of place his attire was “red pants, blue polka dot shirt, bow-tie with brown shoes."
The organization that gave him his first opportunity was CIS (Community Integrated Services), where he was hired as a Business Development Specialist. He said, “I was honest, I told them about my troubled past and that I just needed an opportunity to change my life”. Shortly after being hired with CIS, Brown was able to enroll his daughter in private school, obtain permanent housing, purchase his first vehicle and pay off fines from previous imprisonment. This opportunity helped him to fully integrate into his community and be the father he always knew he could be.
Despite having an MBA, Lebrian switched career paths to pursue purpose. He wanted to help people that were affected by the criminal justice system and work toward something that is much bigger than him. This opportunity became a reality when he received the call from Michael Mckeen, Director at Broad Street Ministry's. Lebrian was so excited, he rolled up the window in 90-degree weather to drown out the loud noise from the other cars. He said, he and Mckeen talked for over an hour regarding reentry and how he felt he could help. After that call he was drenched in sweat but it was all worth it. He got the job and hasn’t looked back since. Lebrian works as a Reentry Specialist, he is the go-to person at Broad Street Ministries, he assists returning citizens with mailbox setup, housing, clothing, family unification and employment assistance. He wants to humanize every individual he encounters and speaks life over them. He also works actively with the Pennsylvania Prison System, and periodically visits the prisons to motivate other men.
Lebrian has changed his life and inspires everyone he encounters. He is happily married and the father of a beautiful little girl, who sees him as her hero. When you meet him the first thing you will notice is his calm and genuine nature. He is knowledgeable and passionate about what he does and is dedicated in his efforts to reduce recidivism. He wants every returning citizen to know there is life after incarceration and does all he can to help put others on the right path. He knows all too well, how a little help can assist with integrating others into the workforce and community.
Lebrian is also an entrepreneur, he started a Reentry Brokerage Firm, which assist returning citizens with finding employment. He also has a clothing line in the works and a new docu-series called “With Time We Can” (WTWC) which brings awareness to reentry and mass incarceration.
Lebrian's favorite quote is by Nipsey Hussle “We’re not the cause, we’re the effect”.