Facing racist taunts headon with hope for change
Darren Brown-Hall has built a career in education. In Buffalo, he grew up deeply influenced by a schoolteacher mother, Linda Brown, and his own youthful passion for math and physics eventually led him to the classroom.
He is now an administrator, the chief of staff for the Buffalo Public Schools. As a parent and an educator, Brown-Hall, 45, tries to see opportunities for both learning and teaching in the unpredictable and sometimes harsh push-and-shove that goes with everyday life.
The past few weeks were as painful a challenge to that philosophy as he ever faced, after his own son was the target of blatant racist taunts, clearly recorded on video (Warning: explicit language), during a youth hockey game.
The incident exploded last week into a national story, when shock waves from the video led officials to cancel the league playoffs. The footage depicts action toward the end of a Jan. 20 game at the Northtown Center in Amherst for the Multiple Organization House League, which is part of the Western New York Amateur Hockey League.
In a video captured by another parent, players from the Cheektowaga Warriors 18-and-under team can be heard making loud ape noises and shouting “(expletive) monkey” toward Roshaun Brown-Hall, 17, who plays on an Amherst Youth Hockey Association team.
Darren Brown-Hall was at a birthday party that day for his mother. His husband, Chris BrownHall, was at the rink to watch their son, but he did not hear the taunting because he was seated too far away