My Testimony @ The Hope Gathering

In June I was blessed to be invited to share my story at the Hope Gathering Conference which was one of the most diverse Christian conferences I have ever attended. The organizer Suzy Silk did a great job of finding women from diverse backgrounds to speak when other conference organizers claim they cannot find people of color or women to speak. To hear my testimony and the testimonies of all speakers click on the photo below:

Hope Gathering June 2014 Talks

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Women of Virtue Blogtalk Radio Series: Organizing, Black Biblical Destiny & Women of Valor

This morning my cousin Author and Women of Virtue Host Day “Dream” Alston interviewed me for her Women of Virtue Series on Blogtalk Radio. We discuss Prophetic Whirlwind: The Black Biblical Destiny, community organizing and who the Virtuous Woman in Proverbs 31 really was and what this means for us as women today.

Check out the interview here: Women of Virtue Series

Day's BookCheck out Day “Dream” Alston’s insightful book on relationships: The Not-so-Patiently Waiting Handbook.

 

 

For more information on the true meaning of the Proverbs 31 Virtuous Woman visit: http://www.unveiling.org/Articles/women.html.

                                                                  Be Blessed! 

A Caution In Pursuing the Common Good

I hope all is well as we attempt to settle into spring, I wanted to share a reflection I wrote about the notion of the “Common Good”. Be Blessed!

In the Summer of 2008 I interned in Washington, D.C. at Sojourners a progressive Christian advocacy organization that focuses on economic justice, creation care and immigration issues. The founder of Sojourners Rev. Jim Wallis recently released a book on the notion of a “Common Good” and I was invited to read and respond to it earlier this week at the New York City launch. As I was thinking about the notion of a “Common Good” I started to examine if the “common good” would be good for non-white people or if we were taking the common standards, beliefs and customs of white America and making them good for all. In the post below I give a caution for pursuing the “Common Good” which was shared on Huffington Post and Sojourners: Common Good Forum. See the post below:

Social speech bubble,  Cienpies Design / Shutterstock.com

Social speech bubble, Cienpies Design / Shutterstock.com

Whenever I hear the term “common good” I think of Thomas Paine’s infamous pamphlet Common Sense, which challenged the British government and the royal monarchy, but did not challenge the institution of slavery. As an African-American woman I enter the common good conversation cautiously because I know that in our society we have a habit of taking what is good for Western hegemony and making it the standard for everyone else.

As we pursue the common good, let us remember what was once considered common and good during earlier points in American history: chattel slavery, indigenous genocide, and institutionalized sexism. To truly come to a common good, we need to honor a diversity of voices and challenge our assumptions about what is common and what is good. Our default is to take what is good for our culture, gender, or community and make it the common standard for all. I have experienced being invited into organizations that were aiming to do good in the world, but an expectation existed that I would be silent about my unique concerns as an African woman. I know that denying my reality can never be good for my spiritual, physical, or social well being. Read the entire post here

From Homeless to Hope: Sydia Simmons Founder of The Lost Angels Society

In the U.S. there are about 1,682,900 homeless and runaway youth-The National Coalition for the Homeless

 “25 percent of former foster youth nationwide reported that they had been homeless at least one night within two-and-a-half to four years after exiting foster care.”-The National Alliance to End Homelessness

Number of homeless youth in NYC every night – 3,800.-Shelter of Peace

Founder of the Lost Angels Society Sydia Simmons, her husband Jonathan & daughter Aniyah

Sydia Simmons, her husband Jonathan & daughter Aniyah

At 14-years old Sydia Simmons was kicked out into the streets of New York City by her alcoholic mother but today she is a wife, mother & founder of the Lost Angels Society. The purpose of the Lost Angels Society is to provide a safe space for homeless teens. Sydia knows first hand the difficulty of being homeless, especially in New York City and because she has overcome through her faith she wants to give back. On December 16, 2012 Sydia hosted the Lost Angels Society Benefit to give homeless youth a Christmas celebration. This benefit was supported by actress Uma Thurman, Superstar Singer Usher and many others. Sydia truly has a passion and compassion for homeless youth and an important message for the Church. In Isaiah 61: 3-4 it states: “They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.They will rebuild the ancient ruins  and restore the places long devastated;they will renew the ruined cities  that have been devastated for generations”, Sydia truly fits the description above because she is rebuilding the lives of teens devastated by homelessness. What is unique about the Lost Angels Society is that it is founded by someone who experienced homelessness first hand.

In the video below Sydia shares her amazing testimony with power, honesty & grace.

For more information on the Lost Angels Society, the April 2013 Youth Conference and how you can assist please contact Sydia at: mszsimmons2011@gmail.com.

I love this Red Blazer and the website overall because it’s a thrift site founded by a group of young, driven Christians!

#Election2012 Obama & Romney Answer Faith Leaders’ Call to Address Poverty

The Circle of Protection, a nationwide group of Christian leaders from diverse traditions who have come together to lobby for the poor recently asked President Obama and Mitt Romney to address poverty and a small miracle happened they actually got a response! I think that it is sad to see that as the poverty rate grows and the middle class shrinks our politicians are silent. As a person from poverty and as a organizer I believe that the poor have to speak for themselves and hold elected officials responsible. As we approach the anniversary of Occupy Wall Street what are ways in which poor people can raise their own voices to speak about their reality?

See short video messages from both President Obama & Mitt Romney below:

Poetry Challenge Day 2: Cathedrals, Storefronts & Tabernacles

Sunday in Harlem. The streets are full as we bustle to get to temples built by man. Pimps hustle a gospel of greed and sacrifice(to their dreams). Prophets preaching truth and justice go unheeded and unhonored by the masses. A cathedral is built by money, a storefront is built by courage and a tabernacle is built by the hammering of silence- this tabernacle is your inner spirit and you are its’ only architect.

Drop it likes it’s hot for Jesus???!! The Sexually Confident Wife by Shannon Ethridge

During the historic election summer of 2008 God blessed me with a fabulous internship at a leading Christian justice magazine and advocacy organization in Washington, D.C. Many Christian authors send their publications to our magazine for review and in the summer the un-reviewed books are put out for employees to take home. As an admitted book worm and broke intern this made my day! As I was going through the collection of books I saw titles on racial reconciliation, politics, Christian living, etc, when a hot-pink and black book stuck out like a sore thumb-Shannon Ethridge’s The Sexually Confident Wife. Why would someone send this book to a Christian social justice magazine? Is this a Christian book? I thought the book was more suitable for Cosmopolitan or an episode of Sex and the City than a faith and justice magazine. Didn’t Ethridge know we were in an election year? As a single woman I like to read about marriage in preparation for my own. When I got back to my cubical I was curious to see what the book was about because on the back cover I discovered that Ethridge was a co-author of Every Woman’s Battle which is apart of a respected Christian book series on purity; proof that this was indeed a Christian book!

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Occupy-Chaplaincy!!!

This blog first appeared on the Poverty Initiative Union in Dialogue Blog: A New & Unsettling Force.

Below are two pieces by Poverty Initiative leaders discussing the different contexts in which they have served as chaplains and how this work is connected to the broader movement to end Poverty. The first is a reflection by Jennifer Wilder about her work with the Union protest chaplains who have been serving in Zuccotti (Liberty) Park for the past several weeks of Occupy Wall Street. Jenn’s reflection is followed by an excerpt from a reflection that Union alum and Poverty Initiative leader Onleilove Alston wrote about being a chaplain over the years with the Poverty Initiative, “on the field of battle for justice.”

CHAPLAINCY IN ZUCCOTTI PARK FOR ‘OCCUPY WALL STREET

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