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Boxing coach Derek Brown is from the West Side/North Lawndale Chicago area. Growing up in a poor, poverty-stricken community is difficult. Even more so when it is riddled with gangs and drugs. Brown has seen firsthand how this can affect a person’s life.
By the age of 13, he had joined a gang. He “worked hard to get ranked.” Later, he “worked hard to be a drug seller; drug distributor.” That type of life may allow someone to have “cars, money, and women; but it also has death.”
“Death of my friends; Going back and forth to jail; My friends going to jail for life; Seeing friends of mine strung out on drugs.” These events made Brown want to change his life and make a difference.
Boxing Out Negativity started as an outlet for some of the youth in his community. Anytime anyone would use his old nickname “Shotgun” instead of coach, he would penalize them by having them run around the block.
Brown wanted to educate the youth on the differences between Street and Life hard work. Of course, the main difference is the danger and consequences that come with Street hard work. That type of work may get a person what they want but it always comes with a price.
The hard work that comes with Boxing Out Negativity allows a person to do better. Brown feels it is his “job to teach better. That way our children don’t have to follow the same destructive path.”
We fight to live so we’ll live. We fight for education so our children will get smarter. We fight for finances so we work towards bigger goals — take care of ourselves, family, friends, and community.
Above all, Boxing Out Negativity gives youth “the right keys to get the right passage to make it in life the safest way possible. It’s not just a program, it’s a way of life.”
Brown is inspired to keep spreading his word and program running for his community because of the life he had lived. He fully understands the hardship the youth face on a daily basis. Boxing Out Negativity gives them resources to do something and become better. It offers the youth a positive activity while teaching them valuable life skills.
Boxing Out Negativity allows them to have fun while working hard. Brown has found that mixing hard work with fun allows people to be more comfortable.
Boxing is a motivational tool that allows people to tap into their better selves. When a person boxes, they get up every day, train, focus on their health while focusing on others. This fills people with a sense of pride.
A sense of pride of taking ownership and responsibility in one’s self-health and not putting their happiness into anybody else’s hands.
Recently, Boxing Out Negativity teamed up with Chicago Youth Boxing Club (CYBC) to put on the national event called Power Glove. Boxers from all over the region came to Chicago to participate in the youth-based program. CYBC and Boxing Out Negativity have been collaborating in the hope to unite the Black and Brown communities in Chicago.
Brown wants “to be remembered as one of the poorest kids in Chicago — one of the kids this city has written off as being dead or in jail by the time he turned 18.” Above all, he wants “to be remembered as ‘If he can do it, anybody can do it!'”
Written by Sheena Robertson
Interview: Between Derek Brown and Sheena Robertson on Nov. 1, 2021
Boxing Out Negativity: About
Interview: Between Derek Brown and Mikal Eggleston on Nov. 4, 2021
Images Courtesy of TNS Photography