Drumroll please….

Over the last month, many people have wondered what we are doing with the shipping container we purchased as an organization.

We’ll after years of advocating for those experiencing homelessness, we have decided to do something disruptive to ensure people that are being displaced all over the country are never forgotten.

Therefore, we are launching the first museum for homelessness and poverty by converting a shipping container into a immersirve space that will travel and educate people about a issue that should be addressed in our country.

We are calling it, “Dignity Museum.”

Mission:

The Dignity Museum will create an interactive experience for visitors to immerse themselves in the stories of those experiencing poverty and homelessness.

More than 1 million people are homeless in the United States, a quarter of those being children. Historically, homelessness has been viewed as a character flaw, a personality defect to be looked down on. Many of those experiencing homelessness have not been given an opportunity for another option.

Homelessness is systemic, generational, and often times as a result of long-held misconceptions about those experiencing the plight. Their lives are overlooked on street corners, under bridges, and on metal bunk beds in shelters across the country.

The Dignity Museum shares the stories of the forgotten, while presenting the unjust causes for the disparity in resource allocation. The stories of those who were born into poverty, those who became homeless as adults, the kids holding cardboard signs at the stoplight, and their collective fight to beat their circumstances.

Through interactive technology, research, storytelling, exhibits, and thought-provoking questions, visitors will confront their ideas of homelessness and what it takes to escape it.

The museum is designed to take the guest through a journey to promote a hopeful future of equality, opportunity, and justice.

Going Deeper:

Dignity Museum is the first of its kind in Atlanta. This innovative, living museum aims to help Atlantans and national tourists understand the suffering and struggle that many people face that are experiencing homelessness and those who face extreme poverty.

More importantly, Dignity Museum seeks to offer an up close and real view of the conditions in which people live in a way to create empathy and action among those who do not understand the reality of poverty.

Incorporating videography, Dignity Museum’s curated content will capture people caught in the rawness of their struggle in a way that gives them a voice and honors their journey as humans.

Follow our pages on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook and watch our video below:

Dignity Museum – Love Beyond Walls from Love Beyond Walls on Vimeo.

To contribute to this project and help us raise the last $6,000 we need to finish our project click [HERE]

Terence

Displaying Empathy To Others

Having “Empathy” means:

1. Having the ability to “walk in someone else’s shoes” for as long as You need to connect with them in order to be able to feel what they are feeling.

2. Wanting to understand what they are going through and show them they are not alone.

3. Not judging their situation in any way, not making yourself the Saviour and them the Victim.

4. Seeing them as they are. Offering them the space of your empathic presence allows them to feel seen and accepted. From there on, change and healing can take place.

Be empathic and #lovebeyondwalls

LBW Team

What is Privilege?

What is Privilege?

We love a few definitions about privilege given by NCCJ,

Privilege: Unearned access to resources (social power) that are only readily available to some people because of their social group membership; an advantage, or immunity granted to or enjoyed by one societal group above and beyond the common advantage of all other groups. Privilege is often invisible to those who have it.

Social Power: Access to resources that enhance one’s chances of getting what one needs in order to lead a comfortable, productive and safe life.

Class Privilege: The unearned access, resources and social status systematically given to upper-middle, upper, rich and owning class individuals at the expense of working and poor class individuals.

Target or Oppressed Identities: Social groups that are negatively valued, considered to be inferior, abnormal, or dependent and given limited access to resources and social power.

Agent or Privileged Identities: Social groups that are positively valued considered superior, independent, or “normal” and have access to resources and power.

LBW Team

What is Gentrification?

What is Gentrification?

Gentrification is a general term for the arrival of wealthier people in an existing urban district, a related increase in rents and property values, and changes in the district’s character and culture. The term is often used negatively, suggesting the displacement of poor communities by rich outsiders. But the effects of gentrification are complex and contradictory, and its real impact varies.

Many aspects of the gentrification process are desirable. Who wouldn’t want to see reduced crime, new investment in buildings and infrastructure, and increased economic activity in their neighborhoods? Unfortunately, the benefits of these changes are often enjoyed disproportionately by the new arrivals, while the established residents find themselves economically and socially marginalized.

Gentrification has been the cause of painful conflict in many American cities, often along racial and economic fault lines. Neighborhood change is often viewed as a miscarriage of social justice, in which wealthy, usually newcomers are congratulated for “improving” a neighborhood whose poor, minority residents are displaced by skyrocketing rents and economic change.

Although there is not a clear-cut technical definition of gentrification, it is characterized by several changes.

LBW Team

How to Gather People Around a Cause

In leading a movement of doers, we want to equip you in how to create your own movement or how to bring awareness to an issue close to you.

The world changes and problems are solved through communities of people coming together to commit to the change. Love Beyond Walls would not have any impact if it weren’t for our volunteers, followers, partners, and everyone who engages with our story and mission.

The same goes for every cause. If you’d like to gather people around your idea, solution, or mission, here are some first steps to follow.

1. Identify With It

The cause needs to be something that you personally identify with it. It ties into your story. That doesn’t mean you have had to go through it but it has had to have an impact on you.

For example: If you overcame an illness, you might find joy in working with people who are also overcoming an illness. Or, you could have had a friend that was touched by this, and you were affected as a result. 

Whatever the cause, it should burn in your heart. It’s not a hobby or trendy topic but something that motivates you to get out of bed in the morning.

2. Get Involved

In order to make an impact towards the cause you’re fighting for, you’ll need to become familiar and knowledgeable about it.

Maybe there is an organization or group already doing something in this area you could learn from.

Take time to volunteer, do research, and hear speakers. Engage with the community that is already working towards making a change.

3. Listen

In developing your own idea, never bring a solution or prognosis to a community without first hearing the symptoms from the people you plan to service.

You wouldn’t have a doctor who prescribes medicine without listening to the symptoms, the same goes for this. Out of the need comes the prognosis.

If you are going to be a social scientist, you can never meet the needs of the people you’ve never met. Additionally, you’ll find out how to tailor your idea to meet the need you found.

4. Get Active

Once you have listened and become knowledgeable, this should provoke action.

You will begin to give your time to it. Create a rhythm in your life where this time is ongoing. Most people normally ask how to do a one-off event but if you are really committed to cause, you need to make service a lifestyle and consistent rhythm in your life.

How often are you going to make sure people have blankets? What days? It’s easier to invite others into the cause when you’re consistent in your idea and service.

You’re applying the knowledge, serving the burden, and actually figuring out the need.

5. Invite others

Start with those who are closest to you. People will believe in you before they believe in the mission or cause you are fighting for. You will become the bridge needed to connect people to your cause.

Try to gather them in a social setting. For example: If your idea is to provide blankets for the homeless community, then you need to invite 5 or 6 friends around an actual activity.

Instead of just collecting blankets and dropping them off, have the people serving with you do something around the blankets. Tell them, “we’re going to write notes.” Or, create tasks that educates those who are donating the blankets. This will help your audience understand why they are needed more than just one time, and must give a part of themselves to the cause.

6. Distribution

Begin to match the people who are giving with the people who have the need.

Help forge relationships between people who have resources relationships and time and those who need them.

Storytelling

While you begin to bring people around a cause, the leading factor should be storytelling. Everything you do should fall under this umbrella.

The need may be blankets, but what story inspired you to want to start collecting blankets? Ask yourself questions like these. This is what will bring people along the journey.

There are 4 P’s to tell a great story: person, plot, place, purpose.

Instead of, “we need blankets for the homeless!” Try and tell a story like this:

“Yesterday, I met John. He sleeps outside and it’s 15 degrees. He was behind a building downtown trying to take cover from the wind. We need to ensure that if he is sleeping behind this building he at least has these blankets.”

We always try to tell stories in this way because it’s indirect asking. It’s a way for people to get involved without directly telling them what to do.

Leave enough space for people to find out that they’re the extra character in the story. Once they figure that out, they’ll come through in even bigger ways than you might have initially imagined.  

We try to create “low hanging fruit” where anyone can see themselves as the hero of the story because the level of entry is so low. Don’t exclude people by asking for a blanket factory or people that can only donate $10,000.

This way anyone can get involved because the premise is not based on material but rather involvement.

Podcast Interview on Voting Conditions, Systemic Oppression, and Hope for the Furture

This month we had the opportunity to talk to Wanda Mosely from My Vote Matters GA.

The political climate lately has been difficult to navigate.

It’s hard to believe that there are still systemic conditions that keep people from voting. The most underrepresented group are the marginalized and vulnerable. Minorities are still struggling to make it to the polls.

What consequences does our country see when voices are not represented? And how does this affect the policies in place?

More importantly, how can we help create change?

Wanda offers a uniquely hopeful position on what we can do to make a difference.

Listen to the full episode here.

MAP18 BOOK LIST

Looking to learn more about the topics we’re creating awareness for? Here are some of our most recommended books on racial division, poverty, and Christianity and poverty.

 

RACIAL DIVISION:

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

Is God a White Racist?: A Preamble to Black Theology by William R. Jones

White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson PHD

Embrace by Leroy Barber

Under Our Skin: Getting Real About Race. Getting Free from the Fears and Frustrations that Divide Us by Benjamin Watson and Ken Peterson

Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America by Christian Smith and Michael Emerson

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond by Marc Lamont Hill

POVERTY:

The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto by Travis Smiley and Cornell West

The Impossible Will Take a Little While: A Citizen’s Guide to Hope in a Time of Fear by Paul Rogat Loeb

99 to 1: How Wealth Inequality Is Wrecking the World and What We Can Do About It by Chuck Collins

So Rich, So Poor: Why it’s so hard to end poverty in America by Peter Edelman

The Life You Can Save: How to Do your Part to End World Poverty by Peter Singer

There Are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in the Other America by Alex Kotlowitz

Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation by Jonathan Kozol

The Working Poor: Invisible in America by David K Shipler

The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

A Place at the Table: The Crisis of 49 Million Hungry Americans and How to Solve It by Peter Pringle

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich

CHRISTIANITY AND POVERTY:

Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion by Gregory Boyle

Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help, And How You Can Reverse It by Robert D. Lupton

The Justice Project by Brian McLaren, Elisa Padilla, and Ashley Bunting Seeber

Make Poverty Personal: Taking the Poor as Seriously as the Bible Does by Ash Barker

How Much Is Enough: Hungering for God in an Affluent Culture by Arthur Simon

The Politics of Jesus: Rediscovering the True Revolutionary Nature of Jesus’ Teachings and How They Have Been Corrupted by Obery M Hendricks

There Shall Be No Poor Among You: Poverty in the Bible by Leslie J. Hoppe

The Upside-Down Kingdom by Donald Kraybill