Documentary Film: The Story of Brothers for Change
Brothers for Change was a product of Antoine Harris, Tim Russell, Terry Hunter, Hugh Gregory, and Erris Edgerly’s preparedness to change elements of traditional masculinity for men in their community, hoping to stop the cycle of fatherless families and remove toxic masculinity from their societal expectations. Once realizing that masculinity was influenced by more than just an absent father, the organization’s focus broadened to the wider community, aiming to combat disparities present in their surrounding systems in order to create an environment that could foster improvement and growth for both black men and the community as a whole.
We spoke to Erris Edgerly, the last founder still involved with Brothers for Change, who witnessed the majority of the community fall into the hands of drugs, which destroyed many familial unions throughout its reign. This led to greed, robbery, and an “epidemic” of violence, which Erris saw break apart families, especially when black men were the targeted population during the war on drugs.
He considered the idea that the disparities he observed were constantly damaging familial ties, creating a cycle of families who had no father figures, and sons who would imitate the same actions when it was their turn. So, after spending some time with men and their families, he realized that all of these outside influences were impacting the strength of the community, and consequently unification of the family, meaning no improvement could be made in the home until the surrounding environment was improved. Once they had a community that could support the well-being of its members, then it would be a healthy system for fostering familial growth, allowing fathers, in particular, the opportunity to better provide and be present for their families. Running with this idea, Erris and a few of his coworkers decided to part from the organization they worked for and create their own, and thus Brothers for Change was born.
The work of Brothers for Change does not stop, and Erris is constantly meeting with other community members and officials with the hope of getting them involved in creating a systematic change in the community. For those willing to join the cause, is it evident that Brothers for Change is one of the strongest believers in its community, determined to create better futures and lives for the brothers who have been shot down by the systems that work against their ability to thrive. In everything it does, Brothers for Change is pushing for the improvement of a community left behind by its own city, uplifting its members and cultivating an environment that will pave a positive path for its young men and future leaders, so that they may be a strong family once again.
To learn more, visit: https://www.brothersforchangeinc.org