Gamaliel Leader Spotlight: Rev. Willie Brisco
Rev. Brisco grew up in a small town in Mississippi and later moved to Detroit, Michigan. He currently lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he is the President of MICAH and the Co-Vice President of WISDOM, both of which are affiliates of Gamaliel. Rev. Brisco has been the President of MICAH for four years and the Co-Vice President of WISDOM for two years. He received the title of Reverend in 2009 and is currently an associate minister at the New Covenant Baptist Church.
How did you get involved with Gamaliel?
Originally, I became involved with MICAH. I started working with jobs in economics and it was then suggested that I go to Weeklong Training in 2009. After going through the training, I realized how much of an impact and how much power we had as a national unit.
What are some of your most recent accomplishments?
Currently, we have been working to get minorities construction contracts so that they can come together to work and rehabilitate houses to sell at an affordable price. Not only does this provide jobs for those people, it also provides ownership for those who buy the homes. We most recently put our first house on the market and we are working towards ten homes to be built by the end of this year. Another project that is being worked on is the Sparks GLX out of Chicago. It was initially planned to help truck drivers in the transportation industry since it is predicted that 500,000 truck drivers will lose their jobs within the next ten years. We are working to get people trained with manufacturing to put them in specific jobs and companies instead of just giving them a certificate. This is what we are most recently working on and it seems to be promising.
Do you have a goal that you are working towards for 2014?
I am looking forward to the end of my second term with MICAH. I know that there will be new endeavors after it is over. I work with social justice and I know that God has a plan for me, so he will point me in the right direction to do greater work. At the same time, I am working to lead MICAH and when the next President takes over my term, I will help them mold the position into what they need it to be.
How did you reach your leadership position within Gamaliel?
Ministry was definitely a start. This country and this city need a nondenominational approach to improve healthy lifestyles in areas such as poverty, education and housing. God wants us to be one church, one body moving in one direction to move as a nation. When joining MICAH, I learned that it had different levels and a range of opportunities, which made it seem like a perfect fit for me.
How do you want people to view you as an organizer?
Martin Luther King Jr. never called himself a leader or an organizer; he always called himself a servant. I would rather be known as a servant trying to do the part that God had given me in this giant puzzle for everyone to do and work together.
Can you talk about how your faith has inspired your leadership position?
My faith lets me know that God has brought us as a people, for myself particularly as an African American; I know God has been with us. It allows me to take a different level of understanding and growth to be able to move things. I am part of that movement and it helps me endure my successes and criticisms. It allows me to focus on the goal and not the distractions, the win and not the defeat. My faith has kept me going through the exhaustion and hardships I have faced.