Those with Knowledge Grow Stronger!Posted: Friday, May 18, 2012
I stayed up WAY to late last night drafting a little talk that I gave this morning, so I hope this makes some sense.
Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to attend a training that prepared nearly 40 people to become facilitators of a program called “Unpacking the 2010 Census”. The DVD shares Richmond-specific information on poverty and jurisdiction, the history, and the policy implications compiled and analyzed by Dr. John Moeser and his team of students. After the group watches each video, we pause of discussion. This morning, a convocation was held at VCU’s Student Commons, just a few short months after we first started to facilitate the program across the Metro area. Earlier this week, I was one of 2 people asked to share from a facilitator’s point of view. I was honored to speak. Thanks to Hope in the Cities and Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities for the opportunity!
If you have any interest in having this information shared and dialogue facilitated in your church, non-profit or civic group, just say the word. Side note…They announced that the DVD will soon be available for purchase!
In case you care, this is what I was lead to share this morning. Peace.
I grew up in the West End of Metro Richmond…..as in Henrico County….when the West End stopped at Parham Road and Short Pump was nothing but a crossroads of a couple of country roads where my grandmother grew up. I first became REALLY aware of the poverty levels of our fair city in 2005 when I moved into Southern Barton Heights – just a short ½ mile North of Gilpin Court. Prior to that, I had little to NO understanding of how our city looked at the street level. I had made it to my mid-40’s without the history that is now documented in this video and in several books I have been reading. In 2008, I was first exposed to some of Dr. Moeser’s work on redlining, urban statistics. I learned more about the challenges our city faces through programs such as the Chamber’s Greater Richmond Challenge, RCLI – Richmond Christian Leadership Institute, through cherished times with my dear friend, Ben Campbell. So, I have this blend of reality at the street level, data and statistics that validate the everyday struggles of my neighbors and friends and a heart that weeps over the injustices and sins of the past, and I daresay, our present.
When the opportunity came to become a facilitator, I jumped at the chance. I couldn’t wait. Because I wanted to make it my mission to take this information to the people. Specifically to God’s people….to the Churches of Richmond.
My Bible tells me in Proverbs 24:5 New Living Translation
The wise are mightier than the strong, and those with knowledge grow stronger and stronger.
I feel called to share this information with anyone who wants to hear it, because I believe, like Proverbs 24:5 states, that knowledge is power. And I believe we all should care, because if poverty impacts 1, it impacts us all. At this point, I think I have helped facilitate to or hosted 1 non-church group, 2 multi-church events, several stand alone churches and several more church requests in the works. Honestly, I have lost count, but it has now reached over 150 people with more to come. Thankful to HIC and VCIC for making this process smooth and easy. If you have been through the program, you know that the dialogue has been rich and thoughtful, emotions ranging from shock and anger to ‘yeah…that’s about right’ to ‘how did I not know this?’ One person even said, ‘that’s me. I live that. How come I didn’t know this?’ Referring specifically to the history.
On a personal note, I have seen and heard this information countless times, yet each time…I hear something new. I am grateful and humbled to have the opportunity to be among 40 facilitators who spent a weekend together being trained to share this information throughout our city. I soooo appreciate what I have learned from my new friends and co-facilitators. It’s been so fun to facilitate in a variety of ways…both the 1-hour version and the 2-hour version.
Thanks to Hope in the Cities, Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities, the Community Foundation and Dr Moeser and his team for the work and effort to share this knowledge which will only make us stronger and stronger!!! The question today is…now that we have the knowledge what are we going to do about it?
Let me leave you with this, as I close. Let’s remember Proverbs 24:5… The wise are mightier than the strong, and those with knowledge grow stronger and stronger. Let’s keep learning together. Let’s keep getting stronger…together. Let’s use our collective wisdom and knowledge together, which is even mightier than the strong!