The Voices Project Tour
Author: Lachelle Robotham | MTR Recruiter
I walked into this experience not knowing what to expect and walked away with one that I will likely never forget. Last week I had the opportunity to travel alongside the Voices Project as they toured four different HBCU’s and six different cities. I must say, I learned a lot and gained valuable insight and new perspectives.
The tour began in Richmond, Virginia with a morning devotional and a team meeting in Richmond’s historical Robinson Theater. This theater represents a piece of African American history and exists to help build healthy community; the perfect place to launch the Tour. We loaded the bus and headed to Murfreesboro, NC where we were met by snow and a room full of eager Chowan University students. From Chowan we traveled to Paine College, made a brief trip to the King Center in Atlanta, GA, followed by a visit to Jackson State University and finally to Dillard University in New Orleans, LA.
Each night we arrived on a different college campus and began the process of setting up a night of worship, spoken word, music, and a panel of African American leaders. Each member of the panel took turns responding to questions pertaining to topics such as: the role of the church in community development, investing knowledge and gifts into ones community, and the power of Christian love. These questions prompted responses such as “Isaiah 68 is for oppressed people all around the world. Not the oppressors. So that we will take the brokenness of the cities and rebuild them in a way that will bring dignity to every human being and glory to the name of our God“.
The goal of the Voices Project is to bring together African American leaders from several different spheres, including music, art, politics and education. Along with MTR, there were representatives from organizations such as Compassion International, the Christian Community Development Association, Mission Year, and Sojourners to name a few. These leaders use their voices to engage in activities and conversation about the African-American community and our role as leaders. As a representative of MTR, it was an opportunity to learn from those who have been long invested in various areas of social justice, each with the mutual goal of giving oppressed individuals and communities a voice.
It was an encouragement to see so many leaders fighting for the same things that MTR staff and teachers work for each and everyday. Hearing all these different voices and unique perspectives in one place affirmed in me the importance of asset based community development and the value that each person holds. When faith and justice collide, every voice has a greater opportunity to be heard.