Eric Brown, a father of three, is not the kind of community member and father who simply wishes things would improve in his community. He rolls up his sleeves and gets involved. Brown has done it by gripping a megaphone, standing in front of a small group wearing orange shirts, promoting a message of peace in the Severn area of Anne Arundel County.

“We are out here for violence interruption, just trying to keep the neighborhood safe and just bring peace to the neighborhood,” Brown said, encouraging listeners to obtain information that was offered outside. “We have a lot of resources.”

Brown is a busy man who plays sports and passed on the interest to three children who are 19, 17 and 15 years old. In spite of juggling fatherhood and responsibilities as a husband, he is known as “Coach” to many kids in Severn. Brown makes time to help other kids in the community, taking them to basketball games and football games, or providing a boost when he can.

“We just had one of the children who recently lost their mom to cancer. My husband helped that child with the trauma that he just went through, because losing your parent is a trauma within its own. I will say when it comes down to being a father, not only does my husband give to his own children, he gives to the community,” Tierra Brown said.

Eric and Tierra have been a couple for 21 years. Tierra remarked that fathers are needed to provide stability. She is grateful that Eric continues to be the best man that he can possibly be as a husband and father. 

“I grew up without my father, after the age of eight,” Eric said.

He explained that being in his children’s lives allows him to try to help guide them to be good people as they grow older. He added that he tries to support his children in all that they do while physically showing his presence.

(L-R) Emare Brown, 10 years old, when he played football and basketball; Ayanni Brown (center), as a 14-year-old basketball player; and Eric Brown III (right), a 12-year old who played football and basketball.

Photo credit: Tierra Brown

“As much as I tell them when I think that they’re doing wrong , I also pat them on the back when they’re doing good. That’s important to me,” Eric said.

Eric and Tierra’s 19-year-old daughter, Ayanni Brown, plays basketball for Chesapeake College.

“I’m proud of her. She made an All-Star game as one of JUCO’s [junior college] top 40 freshman players in the country. She plays in Atlanta in July,” Eric said.

The Brown parents embody solidarity at home, but also in the community. They give back through Man Up, a program that was started in January through Gambrills-based Kingdom Care, a nonprofit’s pilot program.

Eric is the lead of the arm of community support known as Man Up. It was cofounded by Kingdom Kare and Tierra and Eric, according to the couple. Man Up’s first mission is stopping gun violence in the Severn area and trying to reach youth.

“We know that children are the future, so it’s a lot of things we’re trying to stop from going on, just to help people get through trauma,” Eric said. “We call ourselves change agents. We’re just trying to see a healthier community.”

Other activities have included violence interruption, responding to gun violence and a peace rally.

Tierra also mentioned that basketball games, an Easter scavenger hunt for children, providing free food, mental health activities and rental assistance are other efforts that the pair led.

“Before this program even came up, my wife and I have always been pillars of the community,” Eric said.

Tierra reminisced about an earlier time when Eric worked at the Boys and Girls Club. She observed the way he worked with children. Tierra also stated that he helped to take care of his younger siblings at home. His dedication and responsible acts held her attention. 

Tierra and Eric will be starting their own nonprofit and partnering with Man Up. While reflecting on Eric’s great traits, Tierra pointed out how much her husband embodies leadership. It is greatly needed in today’s communities and homes.

“I would say he’s phenomenal,” Tierra said. “As a father, he’s great at what he does with the kids. As far as their sports and everything like that, he’s on it. He gives back what he didn’t have. So, to do that, on its own is just phenomenal.”

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