34, Northern Va.
Most hated stereotype: That the black man is a threat to society in a negative manner.
In his personal and professional life, Anthony Brown deals with one of the most pervasive stereotypes of black men: that they’re a physical threat.
“Just recently I was walking through a parking lot and an older lady gave me a look that seemingly said, ‘He may rob me.’”
Anthony uses his life lessons and others to reach youth through Avail Youth Athletic Club, Inc. In 2012, he and two friends started the non-profit.
“We understood the impact that sports have on the lives of children and how impactful we could be on the lives we come in contact with.”
Youth ages 5 to 17 of any race, gender or background participate in team sports with the goal of providing “the necessary foundation that will enable kids to succeed in life through discipline, hard work, commitment and a strong desire to please the Lord.”
From stereotypes and game strategies to how to behave on social media and in school, AYAC coaches weave life’s lessons into basketball, football and cheerleading.
“The most important thing I want them to learn is that nothing in life is going to be given to you,” he said. “Everything you have to work for. Therefore, sports are not a privilege.”
As a young athlete, Anthony learned how to be organized, disciplined and grateful, he said. Sports helped him understand how things work, how to accomplish his goals and the time commitment necessary to be successful.
Anthony considers this work in his community a hobby, a passion and a source of happiness. Starting the organization is one of his biggest achievements, after his marriage to wife Corrie and the birth of his two daughters, Ari and Cree.
While some might see him as a threat on the street, Brown wants strangers to know that in those same streets he is a husband, father and mentor.
“I’m like a book,” he said. “Don’t judge me by the cover without getting to know me fully.”