Trish Brown

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Trish Brown
Trish brown 2013.jpg
Born Patricia Brown
(1963-10-11) October 11, 1963 (age 55)
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Nationality American
Alma mater Eastern Michigan University

Patricia "Trish" Brown (born October 11, 1963) is a national education advocate, public relations practitioner, journalist, and entrepreneur.

Brown served as the first openly lesbian school board president in the State of Michigan from 1996 to 1997 at the Wayne-Westland Community Schools.[1] As the news editor at Associated Newspapers, Brown helped win the Excellence in Journalism award from the University Press of Michigan in 1990 and 1991.[2] In October, 2012, Brown was awarded the Western Wayne NAACP "Great Expectations" award for her work on behalf of minorities.[3] Brown worked as a publicist for the Osmond family, an American family music group, and helped write and produce Merrill Osmond's single America.[4]

Early life[edit]

Brown was born in Windsor, Ontario on October 11, 1963 as Patricia Ann Brown. Her mother, Margaret Leslie Hardie, from Edinburgh, Scotland and her father, Robert Brown, from Rutherglen, Scotland, both immigrated to Windsor, Ontario where they met. When she was a year old, the family moved to Detroit, Michigan. Brown is a naturalized citizen of the United Statesof America.[5]

Brown was an only child in a middle-class home. She lived in Detroit until she was nine years old. While in Detroit, Brown went to Kosciusko Elementary School from kindergarten to 3rd grade and Evergreen Lutheran Elementary School for 4th grade. When Brown was nine, the family moved to Westland, MI where she attended McKee Elementary School, Nankin Mills Junior High School, and John Glenn High School.[5]

Brown attended Eastern Michigan University in 1982 and graduated in 1989. At Eastern Michigan University, Brown earned a BS in Public Relations with a minor in Industrial Technology with a concentration in Construction Management.[5]



Brown started her reporting career in 1988 at the Plymouth-Canton Crier newspaper in Plymouth, Michigan.

In 1990, Brown left the Crier to work for Associated Newspapers in Wayne, Michigan. Associated Newspapers published the Westland Eagle, Wayne Eagle, Canton Eagle, Inkster Ledger Star, Romulus Roman, Belleville Enterprise, and the Sunday Enterprise.[6]

After 18 months of working at Associated Newspapers, Brown was named News Editor and helped win the Excellence in Journalism award from the University Press of Michigan for the Westland Eagle in 1990 and 1991.[2] The Excellence in Journalism award was given to the best newspaper in the state. While working at Associated Newspapers, one of her reporting duties was covering the Wayne-Westland Community Schools, from which she graduated. In March 1993, she decided to leave Associated Newspapers to seek election to the Wayne-Westland Community Schools Board of Education.[7]

Wayne-Westland school board[edit]

Trish Brown's plague for her service as the Wayne-Westland Community Schools school board president.

On June 10, 1993, Brown was elected to the Wayne-Westland Board of Education. At the time, the district had a $12 million budget deficit.[8][9] Brown took the oath of office July 1, 1993 and was elected to serve as treasurer by her board colleagues. She also was elected treasurer by fellow board members in 1994, and in 1995 she was elected vice president of the board and in 1996, she was elected president of the school board and became the first openly lesbian school board president in the State of Michigan.[1]

While serving on the Wayne-Westland Community Schools board, Brown was also appointed to the Wayne County Elections Commission in 1994 and the Westland Local Development Finance Authority in 1995.

On January 17, 1997 as the president of the board, Brown was one of seven members to vote yes to include sexual orientation among the district's anti-discrimination policies alongside race, religion, age, and physical appearance.[10] In 1997, Brown lobbied Michigan Governor John Engler to secure an additional $100 million over 10 years in funding for the district, now known as the Wayne-Westland Equity Language.[11][12]

Re-election campaign[edit]

In May 1997, Brown was seeking reelection to the board of education when she was attacked by several right-wing Christian groups for her sexual orientation and for voting in favor of the policy.[10] A flyer titled "Take a Hike Dyke" was circulated throughout the community, urging voters to not vote for Brown because of her sexual orientation.[13] Additionally, a religious decree was issued by the self-proclaimed Wayne County "Bible Court" comparing electing Brown to the position to hiring an "alcoholic to drive a school bus or a pedophile to work in a day care center".[14][15]

Brown lost the election by 110 votes.[16][17] Shortly after Brown's term expired, the policy protecting homosexuals from harassment was removed by a 6–1 vote.[18][19][20]

1998 election and lawsuit[edit]

Brown ran for a seat on the Wayne-Westland Community Schools board one final time in the 1998 election and failed to garner many votes. At the same time, Brown filed a civil suit against the Bible Court, seeking damages "in excess of $25,000".[21] The clerk of the Bible Court, Peter James Narsisian, issued an apology and resigned from his position in July 1997.[22]

Public relations[edit]

Trish Brown and Congressman John Conyers at the Western-Wayne NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner in 2012. Brown was awarded the "Great Expectations" award.

Brown started her public relations firm, Communication Concepts, in 1993.[23] Brown has provided services for numerous colleges, universities, school districts, state officials, members of congress, and businesses. In 2000, she served as the Osmonds' publicist and public relations strategist for their "Back On The Road Again" Tour.

In 2001, Brown worked with Merrill Osmond to help write and produce the single America.[4] Many of the proceeds went to benefit the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund.[24] The purpose of the fund is to "provide education assistance for postsecondary study to financially needy dependents of those people killed or permanently disabled as a result of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and during the rescue activities relating to those attacks."[25]

Currently, Brown owns and operates TPE Multimedia, a public relations and multimedia firm.[26] Brown also created The, an online news magazine that reports news from Los Angeles and Detroit.[27] The TPE entity was created when Trish Brown started the Tipping Point Education foundation in 2010.

In 2012, Brown was awarded the Great Expectations Award from the Western Wayne chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.[3]

Wayne County Community College District[edit]

Merrill Osmond testifying on behalf of Wayne County Community College District

In 1993, Brown began working as a consultant for the Wayne County Community College District through her public relations firm, Communication Concepts.[28]

Throughout her contract with Wayne County Community College, Brown led these successful millage campaigns:

  • A proposal to make the previous 1-mill proposal passed in 1992 permanent (1998).[29]
  • A proposal to add 1.5 mills for 10 years (2001).[29]
  • A proposal to extend the 2001 1.5 mill proposal until 2021 at a reduced rate of 1.25 mills (2008).[29]
  • A proposal to add 1 mill for 10 years to fund general operating purposes (2012).[30]

In 1999, she stopped Ford Motor Company, the UAW union, and the State of Michigan from building a technical center within the tax boundaries of the district.[31]

In late 2001, legislation was introduced that compromised the newly passed millage and would force the college to close if passed. Brown worked with Merrill Osmond, who testified before the legislature to stop lawmakers and Michigan Governor John Engler from closing the school and explained how the new funding would be beneficial to residents in the community college boundaries in Wayne County.[citation needed]

Through millage proposal estimates and saving the 2001 millage from being removed, Brown has raised approximately $2 billion in funding for Wayne County Community College District.[32]

Personal life[edit]

Brown currently resides in the Los Angeles area and the Metro Detroit area Canton, Michigan. She has two daughters with her ex-partner of 28 years. Brown and her ex-partner also had a still-born son.[1]


  1. ^ a b c "Ferndale Pride; Everyone is Welcome!". The Urbane Life. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Excellence in Journalism Awards Previous Winners". University Press Club of Michigan records 1987 - 1994. University of Michigan Bentley Historical Library. Awards. 1992.
  3. ^ a b Taylor, Jeffrey. "National education advocate, Trish Brown, accepts the Great Expectations Award, at the WW NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner". TPE Post. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Ethical standards of potential business teachers and potential businesspersons on selected business practices". Copyright Encyclopedia. Advameg, Inc. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
  5. ^ a b c Mansfield, D (August 20, 1992). "Naturalized". Westland Eagle. p. A-10.
  6. ^ Brown, Patricia (August 20, 1992). "Print bid is awarded". Westland Eagle. p. A1.
  7. ^ Placinto, J. "Candidates vie for Wayne-Westland school board terms". Westland Eagle. p. A3. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  8. ^ Clem, Darrell (June 17, 1993). "Thomas critics win big". Westland Observer. p. A1.
  9. ^ Placinto, J (June 24, 1993). "School voters choose McCusker and Brown". Westland Eagle. p. 1A.
  10. ^ a b "People for the American Way Action Fund Condemns Anti-gay Flier in Michigan school district". The P.E.R.S.O.N. Project. People for the American Way Action Fund. Retrieved July 14, 2013.
  11. ^ Poger, L (September 26, 1996). "Schools beg Engler for help". Westland Observer. p. A1,A3.
  12. ^ Richard, T (June 8, 1997). "State school aid: Wayne-Westland district gets boost". Westland Observer. p. A7.
  13. ^ Clem, Darrell (June 1, 1997). "Hate flier circulated, decried". Westland Observer. p. A1,A3.
  14. ^ Garrett, Craig (July 8, 1997). "Bible court presides over metro morals". The Detroit News. p. 1D,4D.
  15. ^ "An exercise in persistence". The Advocate. p. 14. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  16. ^ Garrett, Craig. "Gay school chief angered by smear fliers: Brown loses election by 110 votes after literature was mailed to homes". The Detroit News. Retrieved July 14, 2013.
  17. ^ Lopez, Manny. "Beliefs cost me my job, says ousted schools chief". The Detroit News. Retrieved July 14, 2013.
  18. ^ "No Mixed Messages, Says GLC Leader". P.E.R.S.O.N. Project. The National Education Assn. Gay and Lesbian Caucus. Retrieved July 14, 2013.
  19. ^ Garrett, Craig. "District drops gay policy". The Detroit News. Retrieved July 14, 2013.
  20. ^ Storey, Kristen. "Gays lose school policy fight in Wayne-Westland". The Detroit News. Retrieved July 14, 2013.
  21. ^ Storey, Kristen. "Ousted Wayne-Westland school board president to run again". The Detroit News. The P.E.R.S.O.N. Project. Retrieved 30 September 2013.
  22. ^ Clem, Darrell (July 24, 1997). "'Judge' apologizes, resigns from bible court" (PDF). Canton Observer. p. A4(C). Retrieved 30 September 2013.
  23. ^ "Communication Concepts". Manta. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  24. ^ "Merrill Osmond". Talent Live Studios. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
  25. ^ "About". Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund. Scholarship America. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
  26. ^ "About". TPE Multimedia. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  27. ^ "Most unlikely to succeed". TPE Post. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  28. ^ "Testimonials". Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  29. ^ a b c "WAYNE COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT FIVE-YEAR CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PLAN 2013-2018" (PDF). Wanye County Community College. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  30. ^ "Wayne County Community College District Levy Proposal (November 2012)". Ballotpedia. Lucy Burns Institute. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  31. ^ JENNIFER BAGWELL (10 November 1999). "School Wars". Metro Times. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  32. ^ "TPE Multimedia » Trish Brown". Retrieved 8 March 2018.

External links[edit]