Micah Mandate

The Magazine of the J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice at Trevecca Nazarene University.

Urban Farm goes off the grid with new solar panels

Posted by admin October - 1 - 2015 - Thursday ADD COMMENTS
solar panel 2
By Christy Ulmet
Two large black panels hang above the door on the south side of the barn at the Urban Farm. With just these two panels, the farm is able to sustain its own electricity.
In an effort to be energy independent, the Urban Farm hung the two 100-watt solar panels to power outlets and lights in the recently built barn facility.
The project, which was spearheaded by Chris Farrell, professor of biology and the environment, was funded entirely by grants.
“Projects like these demonstrate that we’re energy independent. We don’t have to even have wires for this. We’re powered by nature,” Farrell said.

Read the rest of this entry »

La Fille Mal Gardee Large 121

By Bailey Basham

Nearly 100 ballerinas will be on Trevecca’s campus this weekend.

The J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice will host “The Art of Justice: Using Creativity to Change the World,” a weekend-long celebration to highlight youth organizations in Nashville who use art to do social justice in youth communities.

The keynote event will be the Rejoice School of Ballet spring recital.

Among the other youth art organizations are Courage UnmaskedHarvest Hands Humphrey Street Coffee Company, local artists and a local community theatre company. These organizations will have booths set up to give out information about their organizations.

“I see many individuals who use different forms of the arts, whether it’s therapeutic writing, painting, or ballet. People use creativity to address social issues,” said Iris Gordon, Nashville business management consultant and adjunct professor in the J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice. “I don’t think many people think about the power of creativity, so the goal of the event is to put that on display, heighten the awareness of what is being accomplished, and spark new ideas and interests in how people can utilize their creativity to also address or manage social issues.”

Rejoice School of Ballet is a non-profit dance school in East Nashville. The school, celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, serves nearly 100 dancers a year from diverse backgrounds. All students pay incomer-based fees for training, dance wear, and costumes.La Fille Mal Gardee Large 134

The goal of Rejoice is to serve dancers from diverse backgrounds by hiring professional faculty to teach students who otherwise wouldn’t have access to quality ballet training, said Patricia Cross, executive director of Rejoice.

Rejoice is a client of The Neighborhood Empowerment Program, which is an initiative of the Center for Social Justice that seeks to equip and empower local nonprofits to maximize their work in serving our neighbors, said Jamie Casler, director of the J.V. Morsch Center of Social Justice.

Gordon has been working with Rejoice for about a year through the NEP. She consults with the board of directors, sets up committees and counsels Cross on business methods and efficiency.

“I have seen real impact on how businesses can address social injustices that exist in our world and have a positive effect just in restoring people to wholeness- both in individuals and the community and at large,” said Gordon.

She has energized the board members to do great work to support and promote Rejoice, said Cross.

“Trevecca sends Iris out in the community to walk alongside nonprofits who otherwise couldn’t afford that sort of help, and to have someone with her expertise and knowledge is an amazing gift,” said Cross. “Iris has brought in other local ministries that are using art to promote social justice, so we feel the event is going to be a great way to open people’s eyes to the importance of the arts and promoting social justice in the community.”

The event is open to all Trevecca students, faculty and staff, and neighboring community members.

“It would really serve as a positive exposure on how different arts are being used to empower and address social injustice and could broaden a student’s perspective on what they might be able to do to use their creativity to help address social issues as well,” said Gordon.

“The Art of Justice” will be on May 2 at 6:30 p.m. and on May 3 at 3 p.m. in Boone Business Building. Tickets are $8 and may be purchased here.

Students work to aid in global water crisis

Posted by admin April - 16 - 2015 - Thursday ADD COMMENTS

By Christy Ulmet

Last fall, five Trevecca students were given the task of creating a clean water project idea. The team, led by Stephens Hiland, senior communication studies major, prepared a model for a fundraiser, which will support Nazarene Compassionate Ministries’ Global Clean Water Fund.

Every Nazarene university and college was able to submit an entry for the project, but Trevecca’s group ended up winning, which gave them the funding needed for the school’s idea, which they titled “Drop by Drop.” Read the rest of this entry »

PBS Documentary showcases hidden part of Nashville

Posted by admin February - 6 - 2015 - Friday ADD COMMENTS

By Bailey Basham

A PBS documentary aired last week on sex trafficking which included a lengthy report on trafficking in Trevecca’s neighborhood.
As part of a three-part PBS documentary series, New York Times op-ed columnist Nicholas Kristof explored the issue of sex trafficking in the U.S. which brought him to Murfreesboro Road.
The series, A Path Appears: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, focuses on investigating the struggles women face in the United States and abroad in regards to sex trafficking and profiles the individuals working with the victims to create effective solutions.
“We wanted to take a closer look at the efforts being made for the victims to escape and rebuild their lives,” said Kristof in A Path Appears while reporting on Murfreesboro Road.
The first episode of the three-part series aired on Jan. 26 and uncovered one of the harshest forms of gender-based oppression and human rights violations currently being faced in the U.S.
Shana Goodwin, a survivor of the Nashville sex trafficking ring who tells her story on the documentary, remembers first being sold to a pimp by her mother when she was just 12 years old.
“My grandfather was my trafficker when I was a little bitty girl. You can look at trafficking in any sense that you want to, but really it’s a manipulator” said Goodwin in the documentary.
Like many others, Goodwin was a victim of sexual abuse when she was very young.
“The women who come into the program share a common story, and the story goes something like their first rape between the ages of 7-11, and on average, they hit the streets between 14 and 16 years old,” said Becca Stevens in the documentary, founder of Magdalene and Thistle Farms in Nashville. “All of these women carry the issues of sexual violence on their backs. The roots are in trafficking, and the roots of trafficking are in vulnerability and childhood trauma. It’s all connected.”
One woman Kristof interviewed shared that she didn’t realize what was being done to her was wrong.
“It happened so much that it seemed natural, like it was supposed to happen. When your mom is teaching you stuff, you just assume that it’s right,” said Sheila McClain in A Path Appears.
Actress, activist, and victim of sexual abuse Ashley Judd investigated alongside Kristof for much of his time with Goodwin on Murfreesboro Road.
“I think shedding the shame of child abuse is the fulcrum to speak openly and confidently, giving the toxic shame back to the perpetrator; getting it externalized and putting it back where it belongs,” said Judd in the doucmentary.
One major issue in the alleviation of the problem is that many people aren’t aware of how seriously it is plaguing their own communities.
“It’s interesting to me that trafficking is an issue that is predominantly under the covers. Much of the general public doesn’t know much about it at all. Out of sight, out of mind,” said Ron Maurer, professor of social work and organizer of last semester’s sex trafficking seminar, Current Issues in Human Traffickng: Policy and Treatment.
Goodwin drove Kristof and Judd around Murfreesboro Road, pointing out the hotels she frequented and stopping a couple of times to talk to pimps waiting for the women to return with their money or to check on the women that were working.
“When I was out here [Murfreesboro Road], I had every kind of client: pillars of the community, everyone from A-Z. I would stay down around the hotels because you can get the men who are coming in from out of town,” said Goodwin in the documentary. “And then there’s the famous Drake Motel. Home of the stars?” She laughs. “Home of the drug dealers and prostitutes.”
Raising awareness, educating the public on what sex trafficking is and how the women become involved, and helping make connections to local support and treatment organizations is crucial, said Maurer.
“One part of the issue is that there are a number of people that don’t see the women as innocent victims the way they see the children [that are being trafficked] as being innocent victims,” said Maurer. “People think ‘Well they’re adults, they can make their own choices and decisions, they could just get out of that lifestyle.’ They the victims are the ones responsible for being trafficked.”
As a part of the series, Kristof not only worked to uncover the injustices at play in regards to sex trafficking in Nashville, but also to shine a light on resources and organizations for women who find themselves to be victims of trafficking.
Founded in 1997 by Becca Stevens, an Episcopal priest on the campus of Vanderbilt University, Magdalene is a two year residential community for women who have survived trafficking, prostitution, and addiction. This local organization provides housing, food, health care, counseling, and educational and job opportunities free of charge for women who were victims to sex trafficking.
Thistle Farms is a bath and body product company that is fully operated by graduates of the Magdalene program. While working at Thistle Farms, graduates learn skills in manufacturing, marketing and sales, and administration that they can continue using in the workforce.
Goodwin and McClain are now graduates of the Magdalene program and are working for the Magdalene and Thistle Farms team.
“I’m just grateful. Every night when I lie down in my bed, I think of those nights of sleeping under a bridge. I never want to forget. My next thought is that there’s still a girl under there now. I feel it in my gut – the desire to help the woman who is still out there,” said Goodwin on the Thistle Farms blog.
Episode 1Episode 2, and Episode 3 are available on the PBS website until February 17th.

Social Justice Stocking Stuffers

Posted by admin December - 1 - 2010 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

Brennen Finchum and Rebekah Peoples-

This Christmas, avoid the mall and the crowds of shoppers by buying gifts with a cause. This year spend your shopping money in products that benefit people like inner-city kids, recovering addicts and prostitutes and orphans overseas. What if this year instead of shopping for gifts at the usual department stores, you spent your time and money purchasing gifts from organizations with a social justice mission? What if your Christmas had a cause?

We compiled a shopping guide to help you do just that: Read the rest of this entry »

Morgan Daniels-

Wilson Morgan was at rock bottom.

Wilson Morgan serves food at New Life Cafe. (Photo by Morgan Daniels.)

He had no money, no friends and no family support.

He spent six years in prison and had 10 felony charges, including accounts of manufacturing meth, drug trafficking, possession of listed chemicals, and several accounts of theft of over $500 and $1000.

It was when his mother confronted him that he knew something had to change.

After more than 15 years of alcohol and drug addiction, fighting and stealing, Morgan realized an emptiness inside of himself that he could never seem to fill.

He received a stern letter in jail from his mother, Lynn Guillory, in February of 2009, Read the rest of this entry »

Veterans served by Operation Stand Down Nashville

Posted by admin March - 28 - 2010 - Sunday ADD COMMENTS

Shadaye Hunnicutt–

Everyday 60 to 100 veterans walk through the doors of Operation Stand Down Nashville.

“Some come for their mail, others just want a sip of coffee, but most are looking for work,” said Richard Eaton, who works the front desk of the service center at Operation Stand Down.

More than 840,000 of the 3.5 million homeless people in America are veterans. Many of them, experts say, have alcohol or drug addictions or suffer from mental illness. Others have both. Operation Stand Down Nashville (OSDN) is a key source dedicated to providing a multitude of services for honorably discharged veterans in Nashville.

‘Stand Down’ is a military term which describes the movement of soldiers in combat to a safe place. Operation Stand Down is an annual event that started out in San Diego in the 1980’s. Since then the event idea has moved across the United States and now takes place in 125 different cities. Operation Stand Down Nashville was one of the first to turn this part time action into a full-time organization. Read the rest of this entry »

Trevecca alumni and students find new neighbors in Napier

Posted by admin March - 28 - 2010 - Sunday ADD COMMENTS
Rachel Swann–

Wong with neighborhood kids, Tywan and Darryon. (Photo by Brian Wong.)--

Wesley, Tywan, and Darryon, dressed in their Halloween costumes, banged on the door with excitement.

A few seconds passed. Impatient, they rapped on the door again. They were reminded to wait politely for someone to come to the door before they approached the next house.

They didn’t hear the rules. The boys wanted their candy.

Like thousands of other kids on this chilly October night, these three boys were trick-or-treating. But their parents were not with them. Instead, their neighbors–Brian Wong, 22, Andrew Crimmins, 22, and Michael Hendricks, 23–took them as promised to get the coveted candy. Wong says the boys are more than neighbors; he likes to think of them as friends.

Read the rest of this entry »

Shadaye Hunnicutt–

Theresa P., one of Nashville's homeless, sells copies of The Contributor on the corner of Broadway. (Photo by Shadaye Hunnicutt.)

The last Wednesday of the month may not mean much to the average person. For 51 ambitious homeless people in Nashville, though, it means they’ll soon be able to restock their toiletries, refill their medicine bottles, and maybe even rent a hotel room for the cold nights ahead.

These 51 individuals are vendors of the Nashville Contributor, a street newspaper.

They are men and women of all different races, all trying to better themselves. In a small room in the back of Downtown Presbyterian Church, they discuss last month’s sales and the contents of this month’s issue.

When the meeting is over all the vendors rush up to buy papers. Tom Wills, one of the directors, quickly senses the chaos and orders them to line up in a civilized manner. Read the rest of this entry »