Dallas Police Chief David Brown: A Leader Worth Following
by Tai Anderson, July 12, 2016
The Jewish holiday Purim celebrates the story of Esther, who thwarted a plot by Haman to exterminate the Jews under Persian occupation. In the biblical account, Esther’s uncle Mordecai gives her an amazing pep talk to rise up to the challenge of her day.
All throughout history, great leaders have emerged from the midst of tragedy.
In fact, you can't separate significant events from the leaders that emerged in their aftermath. It sparks a great question. Are great leaders forged for adversity OR from adversity? The answer is yes. Those that have been shaped by tragedy are often the most qualified to lead through tragedy.
The last few months have certainly been full of adversity. Unfortunately, our political leaders, and aspiring political leaders, have failed to rise to the leadership challenges these events have afforded. Their immediate political posturing following the Pulse Nightclub shooting was shameful. Rather than working to unify our nation following horrific events, they have immediately, almost gleefully, seized upon the events for political ends, blame, and posturing.
Over the last few days, our country has witnessed a breath of fresh air. Dallas police chief David Brown has demonstrated a case study in effective leadership. His calm, comforting words and tangible authenticity have brought a hopeful feeling to an otherwise tenuous situation. He has led us to faith, not fear. Yesterday’s call to protesters to join the police force and help be an agent of internal change is a powerful olive branch of peace that our nation desperately needs. It wasn't a mean-spirited taunt. It was a sincere invitation for us all to sit at the table of brotherhood and solve our problems together.
Chief Brown is empathetic to African-American suspicion of police because he has felt it firsthand. He’s lost a brother to drugs and violence. He’s lost fellow officers on the job, one at the hand of his own son, who police shot and killed in the altercation. He has known adversity, loss, and grief. But, every day, he goes to work and he leads a police force in our 9th largest city.
This week he has led us all.
Many a leader would lose his way after the tragedies that he has endured, but not Chief Brown. He has never given in to hate. Instead, he has committed his life to improving the lives of others. He is not disqualified by his experience and tragedy. Quite to the contrary, I would argue that his experience has uniquely suited him for the role to which he finds himself. He is a leader bringing unity to our country when we desperately need it.