By Christy Ulmet
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 Unmasked, Harvest 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.
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.
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 »
By Bailey Basham
A PBS documentary aired last week on sex trafficking which included a lengthy report on trafficking in Trevecca’s neighborhood.
By Bailey Basham
On Friday, Nov. 14th, Trevecca students, local professionals, and members of the Nashville and Middle Tennessee communities gathered in the Boone Convocation Center at Trevecca Nazarene University for a conference on human trafficking.
“Current Issues in Human Trafficking: Policies and Treatment” was designed to bring local agencies together to educate students, practitioners and members of the public on human sex and labor trafficking as a local issue rather than something that only happens in faraway places.
“This is a real issue, not some fictitious thing in a book. This is a real problem, and it’s happening to real people, right here in our community,” said Ron Maurer, director of the social work department.
Trevecca partnered with End Slavery Tennessee to raise awareness on the issue and what resources exist in Nashville to help.
“Being in Nashville gives Trevecca access to different agencies and government bodies to connect and work with. We hope to work with those agencies to integrate more into the community and let the Nashville area see that Trevecca really cares,” said Maurer.
The conference was divided into two sections: the first covered laws and policies, and the second dealt with therapy practices and treatment for victims.
Educating social workers and local agencies on the issue and how to handle current cases is crucial in the relief of the problem.
“The majority of the time, it’s the social service workers that are identifying these cases of sex trafficking,” said Peabody College research analyst Jill Robinson.
In 2011, 85 counties in Tennessee reported at least one case of human trafficking. In Davidson County more than 100 cases of minor trafficking were reported in the same year.
Founded in 2011 by Assistant District Attorney Antoinette Welch, The Hannah Project is a program that provides resources and education opportunities for women who have been victims of human trafficking. With about 10 opportunities per year for these women to participate in the program and almost 800 women in the past three years, Welch said that Nashville is serving as a model for the rest of Tennessee.
“It’s really easy to convince yourself that it doesn’t happen in Nashville, but it does. This is a reality,” said Welch.
Similar to the Hannah Project in regards to an educational opportunity for those involved in human trafficking, Nashville’s John School is a program that focuses on sharing the stories of the victims and how they are affected by their experiences in the trafficking circuit with the men who were arrested for solicitation.
“The goal is to shock them with the facts. After that, we hope that they will be informed enough to teach their sons and educate their brothers. They need to know that this is not okay,” said Welch.
In the courtroom, the fight against human trafficking looks a little bit different.
While the numbers of victims and cases of trafficking in Nashville are very large, seldom is there a professional who is willing to take on the prosecution of these crimes and work toward a conviction.
Immigration attorney Dawn Gerhard spoke at the conference about how, oftentimes, those coming to the states from different countries can be victims of human trafficking without even realizing it.
“There is no such thing as domestic violence in some cultures because it is the job of the man to make sure the woman is obedient; some don’t know what’s being done to them is wrong,” said Gerhard. “It’s the job of people like me to be aware of the resources and services to help them.”
Participants said they learned a lot.
“The conference was really eye opening on what human trafficking currently looks like and how we are beginning to stop it by intervening with victims, offenders, and potential offenders as well as educating the community on the issue,” said junior social work major Annah Hite.
By Bailey Basham
The community is invited to join the conversation Friday, Nov. 14 in Boone Convocation Center.
The goal of the program “Current Issues in Human Trafficking: Policies and Treatment” is to serve as a catalyst to create dialogue both on campus and in the community, to raise awareness for the issue, and to educate students, community members, and professionals on the policies and treatment concerning human trafficking.
Speakers at the workshop will include Jill Robinson of Vanderbilt University, Matt Dixon of the Metro Police Department, Antoinette Welch from the District Attorney’s office, intervention specialist Sheila McClain, Lizedny De la Rosa of End Slavery Tennessee, and founder of Freedom’s Promise, Amber Barron.
To reserve your place at the workshop, register here. This event is free for all Trevecca students, $10 for all non-TNU students, and $35 for professionals looking to earn CEU credits.
By Bailey Basham
The social justice club at Trevecca Nazarene University is working toward bridging the gap between issues in social justice and Christian-oriented solutions.
The club is made up of about 25 students from all disciplines who share a common passion: to enact social justice where justice is due.
Previously known as the International Justice Mission Club, the name was changed as the focus of the club was broadened, said Jamie Casler, Director of the J.V. Morsch Center of Social Justice.
“The purpose of the club is mainly to educate students, make them more aware of social justice issues, and to engage them in social justice opportunities for service,” said Taylor Flemming, social justice major and member of the club’s leadership team.
In the past, the club has worked to organize events that educated on issues like slavery, immigration, human trafficking, homelessness, HIV/AIDS, and the water crisis in Africa.
This semester, it is the hope of the club and leadership team to participate in the End It movement to raise awareness for the nearly 27 million men, women, and children that are trapped in slavery and to provide students with involvement opportunities by way of film forums, guest speakers, clothing drives, and service projects.
“We want to try to educate students on issues that are often neglected or forgotten about. There is still so much injustice, and we want to get students thinking about it,” said Flemming.
By Emily Mowry
On the last day of Trevecca’s annual Social Justice Conference, the speaker gave attendees a reason to go home.
Rev. Gabriel Salguero, pastor of the Lamb’s Church of the Nazarene in Manhattan, challenged conference participants to begin the work of justice by listening in their communities.
“The first job of justice workers is to listen,” Salguero told attendees. “Because to respond to a challenge that is nonexistent… or to defend where the devil is not attacking, is to become an ally of the devil.”
Salguero, as president of National Latino Evangelical Coalition, has spent hours listening to immigrants as he’s led efforts to welcome and care for the 52,000 immigrant children who have poured across U.S. borders this year.
His work with the coalition focuses on poverty, immigration, and education and landed him an invitiation over the summer to meet with President Barack Obama at the White House to discuss how the should respond to immigration issues.
“To learn is to invite people in. To invite people in churches, have listening sessions, have dialogues, have forums,” he said.
He suggested bringing in immigrants and undocumented students at Trevecca and giving them a chance share their stories.
Just before Salguero spoke, he was presented with the J. V. Morsch Center for Social Justice Award. Each year the center gives this award to someone who has been a catalyst for social justice. Jamie Casler, director of the center, explained his reasons for choosing Salguero this year.
“He is an outstanding model of biblical social justice, someone I’d like our students to look up to and to follow in his footsteps,” Casler said.
By Brennen Finchum
Summer is a season of freedom for many students. Some students go on mission trips, some work, some play video games and others go to the beach. No matter where students may find themselves, they still have an opportunity to engage in social justice. Even at the beach, even while working and even while playing video games.
We contacted many of Trevecca’s beloved professors in the social justice program (with the addition of Dan Boone, university president) and asked them a question: “What is a practical way that students can engage in social justice this summer?” Here are their responses.
Dan Boone, University President – Find a high school student who seems to have a calling to social justice. Mentor the student and recruit him/her to the Trevecca social justice program. You may shape a lifelong servant for the work of God.
Dean Diehl, Instructor, Music business – Buy Local—support small businesses! Go into economically depressed areas in your hometown and support locally-owned businesses in those areas.
Small, locally-owned and operated businesses keep jobs and dollars in the local community. Large chain stores siphon money and jobs away from local communities and require poor workers to spend more time commuting and less time with their families. Even if you have to pay a little more to shop at these stores, it is worth it! Stop paying the huge cost of everyday low prices!
Chris Farrell, Professor, Biology – “Have anyone call and catch me.”
Don Kintner, Professor, Psychology – Ride your bicycle to an urban neighborhood you have never been to before, wherein a majority of the people who reside there do not look like you, and/or you have heard unflattering reports about and therefore shunned (even in your automobile).
Hang out in the neighborhood’s haunts and nodes and restaurants. Talk to the people who live and hang out there. Listen to their stories and share your own. You will find that there is very little difference in your struggles and hopes and dreams!
Kathy Mowry, Associate Professor, Mission & Christian Education – Summer is a time for sweet tea, icy Coke or iced coffee! In America, we spend so much discretionary money on cold drinks in the hot months.
I would love to challenge students to become familiar with a huge need in the world: the problem of Gender-Based Violence in Kenya and beyond. Join the Facebook group for the Kenya Gender Based Violence Project. Learn about what they are doing to change the lives of women in that corner of the world.
Consider giving up all purchased drinks for the summer. Drink from your reusable water bottle, and save all the money you would have spent on beverages to send to this project (or another project that motivates you). Drinking water heals your body, and it will bring healing to others.
Leroy Pepper, Associate Professor, History & Political Science – Do something to help provide clean drinking water for people in under-developed nations (donating to Blood:Water Mission is easy: www.bloodwatermission.com). Spend at least a day or two working with Habitat for Humanity in your locality. Volunteer for at least a day or two at a local food pantry or kitchen for the homeless. “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me’” (Matthew 25:40).
Joy Wells, Associate Professor, Sociology & Social Work – My suggestion is to look for a way to “be present” with someone that is “under the radar” like a senior adult, person with a disability, etc. and periodically spend time with them. Much can be learned from simple steps.
Laurie Woods, Assistant Professor, Sociology & Criminal Justice – My suggestion is for students to visit places of worship of other faiths, particularly Muslim mosques, in order to better understand the people we serve. We need to understand where others come from instead of judging them.
By Brennen Finchum
Jason Adkins and the Castanea community have changed their plans a little since the project began in 2010.
Originally, the group planned on restoring an apartment complex located at 12 Garden Street in which they could live side by side with men and women transitioning out of homelessness and cycles of poverty.
Castanea wanted to invite people in to be a part of their community by living life alongside them, sharing in prayer and meals.
“We started out as an intentional community, and we’ve become more and more unintentional as we’ve gone along,” Adkins, environmental projects coordinator, said. “It feels like the right thing to do.”
Now, they are going to only be purchasing one half of the complex. There will be four condominiums in their half and each will go to a different family within the Castanea community.
They aren’t abandoning their dream of working with people who can’t afford to live in healthy housing, however.
In fact, Adkins believes that their ideas of turning the property into an urban garden and farm, along with loving their neighbors, are still possible even though they won’t own the whole complex.
This is because the other half is being bought by Urban Housing Solutions (UHS), an affordable housing provider in Nashville.
UHS received a grant from the state, specifically targeting environmentally friendly building to create affordable housing around Nashville, including Chestnut Hill.
The Castanea group hopes to sell one half of the apartment complex to UHS for $50,000 – $60,000, which will cover the final costs of their side.
“If it’s [sold for] anything less, it’s gonna jeopardize the project,” said Adkins.
The only thing that remains a question for Adkins is whether or not the actions of Castanea are going to actually be beneficial to the Chestnut Hill community.
“We could see the neighborhood actually become very racially and economically homogenous,” said Adkins. “As you fix up a place, you make it a target for investment.”
With UHS’s system, only candidates who qualify for affordable housing will be allowed to move into their units. This guarantees that people who really need the housing will be able to get it.
With the presence of UHS, the residents of the left half of 12 Garden Street will be unknown to Castanea until they meet.
Published with permission of TrevEchoes