The Brown House: An Interview with James Hudson
“They did this alone, just their family with 2 small children. They were rejected and ridiculed, but when you look at the thriving community there today, I think they would tell you that all those hard years were worth it.”-James Hudson
I spoke with James via E-mail about The Brown House on October 2nd, 2019.
TheCharityBoardGamer: Can you tell us about yourself and how you got into the hobby?
James: I got into the hobby when I was playing WoW (World of Warcraft). Some of my local friends invited to me to a game night and I really enjoyed the face to face interaction that the board game provided, it felt like old school LAN gaming, but with a tactile element. I was instantly hooked.
TheCharityBoardGamer: What has been a go-to game you have been playing a lot lately?
James: King of Tokyo – I am playing it with the family every night. We have just left it out on the table and get a game in every night. I know for me, in the modern day of playing every new game that comes out, it’s nice to really dive deep into a single game and explore it intently.
TheCharityBoardGamer: Any designer that you have great respect for or a publisher that you have enjoyed?
James: This could be a really long list as the community has so many people that are admirable. I think, for me, Jamey Stegmaier is at the top of that list. I studied everything he wrote when I was on-boarding into the industry. I followed his lead, and when I reached out to him for advice, he was always there to answer my questions. His games are amazing and still someone I look up to as a publisher.
TheCharityBoardGamer: Tell me about The Brown House. How did it get started and how did you and your family get involved?
James: The Brown House is a community of like minded people that believe that you have to “walk” with people to see growth. It’s not enough to throw a popsicle party here and there and expect to see growth in a community. Adam and Amy Pierce set out 15 years ago to break the “American Dream” by moving to the housing projects, to where society had decided that the people that lived their was “less than”. They did this alone, just their family with 2 small children. They were rejected and ridiculed, but when you look at the thriving community there today, I think they would tell you that all those hard years were worth it.
James: We got involved when we met Adam and Amy at a Crossfit class. They invited us to tutoring (which is every afternoon after school when the kids get off the buses, there is a specific house that hosts the tutoring sessions and we would make sure the kids had help with their homework, snacks, and some playtime) and we fell in love with the community. We instantly started talking about a way to get involved and potentially moving our family to the community. It took a couple years but we made that happen and we lived there the last 5 years we were in Alabama before moving to Los Angeles for the board game thing.
TheCharityBoardGamer: Why is this charity important to you?
James: The Brown House is important because it bridges so many gaps. It stands and proclaims that people are people, no matter where society has placed them in significance. I went to the Brown House thinking that I was going to show people a “better way” and I was quickly knocked on my butt. It didn’t take long for the community of West Circle to show me a “better way”.
James: The Brown House doesn’t ask for qualifiers for help. They don’t seek to “justify” the assistance that is handed out. They are there to accept people as they are, where they are, and to walk with them. They seek out the marginalized and run to them.
TheCharityBoardGamer: What is a way that we can help with the charity?
James: From afar, the best way is to donate funds. I know that sounds like a cop out or the easy answer, but there are a lot of needs and funds are the main way that people from the outside can help with those needs. When an expectant mother loses her job, she is in a crisis situation, having funds to support her in the short term keeps her in the housing and keeps her family unit together. I don’t think a lot of people understand that when you don’t have a support network like a lot of us are used to, we don’t have perspective for what that does to someone. The Brown House is their support network.
TheCharityBoardGamer: Where can we go to find more information about The Brown House?