Director of University Ministries
North Park University
Why is Black History month important to you?
Black History month is important to me for the possibility it holds to educate, inspire, and correct. Even in an age of information overload, it is important to celebrate the contributions people of African descent have made to this country. Beyond the fun-facts, it helps situate the Black experience—the good, the bad, and the ugly--in the stream of American history. It also serves as a bulwark against those who would rather forget or deny painful parts of our history as a nation. It is inspiring when we take the time to reflect on the lives of people who did, comparatively, so much with so little. Finally, it provides us the opportunity to reflect on our own lives in terms of the contribution we are making toward the Shalom of this country generally, and more specifically, toward the shalom of people of African descent.
Who is someone famous in Black History who has inspired you personally? Why?
As a wise person mentioned earlier, it is difficult to pick one person. I am inspired by the faith of all the little, nameless ancestors who went through unspeakable horrors and yet somehow maintained a faith in Christ that was real and transformational. For me in times like these, it is important to look past some of the prominent figures of our time and of times long gone to see all those ordinary people upon whose shoulders stood those fortunate enough to be recognized for their contributions. When I listen to the Spirituals and imagine the circumstances under which they were sung before they were written, I am inspired by their cries of suffering and expressions of joy, determination, and hope. Consequently, I am thus convicted to press on with a sense of purpose, and make the most of the time and the opportunities I have been given.
How have you showcased positive influence on the Black community?
I try to model of what life in Christ looks like. Although I started my career in higher education working with people of African descent and other ethnic minorities, I currently focus my energies on one on one mentoring of young men of African descent. Hopefully, simply being myself might inspire others to do likewise.