Hate won’t stop me!

I’ve been up since 3AM thinking about today’s walk. Today makes 8 days since I left the Center for Civil & Human Rights and started walking to the Lorraine Motel.

Yesterday, I crossed the state line.

Although a huge accomplishment, it has come with both blessing and challenges as I walk through small towns.

For instance, yesterday I was walking with my friends and had three experiences that made my flesh crawl and eyes water.

The first experience was when a young guy threatened to hit my friend and I.

Harvey and I were walking on the side of the road with a good shoulder between us and the actual road. We thought we were safe because we were not in the road.

We were feeling good, and then I saw a car coming at us. Yes. A car intentionally coming at us.

The driver was not texting and driving, and he was not distracted. I know this because he looked me dead in my eyes as he pointed the moving vehicle towards us.

As he got closer, at the last minute he swerved the car and flipped us the finger and sped off.

What would make this guy do that? Racism? Hate? I don’t know but it made me feel unwanted as I walked through a city where people were looking at us strange and dealing with tons of poverty.

As soon as we got past that incident, we encountered another incident.

I’ll never forget 10 minutes later two guys in a red pick up truck (with a confederate flag on the bumper) pulled up beside Harvey and I and stared us down and pulled off fast and yelled out the window, “Be safe out here.”

After the second incident, I then noticed I wasn’t wanted in the city.

But, I continued to walk. Why? Because although I was being treated wrong I still saw their poverty. I saw that many of people that were being mean towards us also were in poverty.

I had a moment where I wanted to play it safe and say it isn’t worth it, but then I thought…

“I’m walking for people that may be poor but hate the color of my skin.”

It was at that moment that God gave me the courage to continue walking towards the AL state line.

Jesus’ words yet again challenged me to love in spite of the hatred.

He says,

“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,”

—Matthew 5:44 NKJV

Although I wanted to get angry, love wouldn’t allow me to do it.

I thought about King’s non-violent approach to solving issues. Although King’s words were radical at moments he also expressed genuine love to all.

In fact, he understood that love is the strongest force when he said in his book Strength to Love, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

After having all those glorious thoughts I was given yet another experience to test my heart to see if I meant it.

Almost three miles from the state border, another pick up truck pulled up beside us, and rolled down the window and stared us down.

We thought they were going to ask us if we needed a ride, but they didn’t.

They backed their truck up (screeching the tires) and sat there looking at us roaring their engine. Ali (a spot car driver) was close and we hopped into the car until they left.

Afterwards, we got out and continued to walk.

Each encounter felt like hate, racism, and anger.

Thinking about the depths of what I felt made me refrain from sharing on social media until I gathered my thoughts.

This morning, as I write this some people will not like it but others will understand what experiences like those do to an African American in this country.

I don’t like racism. It’s sin and shouldn’t exist. But, it does exist and we have to work to eradicate it altogether. We must do it together and not blame each other!

Although I’d love to get angry and stop the march because of those experiences my passion won’t allow me to do that.

Not only am I marching for the poor, I’m also marching for the poverty stricken that may not like the color of my skin.

Why? Because that’s what God has called me to do—love regardless.

Terence

10 DAYS AWAY – MAP18 Reflections

I’ve been up since 3AM reading words that chronicle the last few months of Martin Luther King’s Jr. life —
 
Before he was assassinated, he started to campaign about people in this country that were experiencing extreme poverty.
 
His agenda was to ensure that those on the margins of society were not forgotten.
 
King believed poverty was a Civil Rights issue, and so do I.
 
Every single day, I feel that same burning passion to ensure that this nation remembers the voiceless and invisible of our society.
 
In 10 Days, I’ll set out on another journey.
I’m literally walking from The Center For Civil & Human Rights to the Lorraine Motel (386 miles) to honor the 50th year of King’s passing, and to bring attention to an issue that he stood against—poverty.
 
I’m grateful for the historical partners we’ve had to endorse the #MAP18 campaign!
 
In the words of King,
 
“If you want to be important—wonderful. If you want to be recognized—wonderful. If you want to be great—wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. That’s a new definition of greatness.”
 
Learn more at marchagainstpoverty.com
 
Terence

documentary critique by rev. neichelle r. guidry, phd

voiceless: a documentary on systemic poverty: is a poignant portrayal of the complexity and humanity of poverty in the United States of America. this documentary illuminates the hypocritical paradox of inequity and disparity in the “land of opportunity.” the primary vehicle for accomplishing this end is through the self-narrated stories of several individuals who are suffering through the imposition of homelessness.

in their own voices, viewers hear of how the problem of poverty is exacerbated by social location. sexism, racism, immigration status, criminal history and generational poverty produce nuanced intersections of suffering, immobility, and hopelessness. through their stories, people like Erica, a single mother of three, weave two common threads through the film. the first common thread is the idea that no one ever desires to be homeless, and the second is the fact that despite their greatest efforts, systems that were built to privilege the wealthy make it impossible for the poor to change their circumstances.

in the wake of the “tax cuts and jobs act,” these people and their stories are the clarion calls to conscious advocacy, self-surveillance of privilege and doing justice. enter Terence Lester, the starter of Love Beyond Walls. in this film, he gives an insider perspective on his March Against Poverty from Atlanta to Washington, D.C. to advocate for the poor. montages of his daily musings and meetings punctuate the film with images of the costs, challenges and joys of doing justice with and for the poor.

as a clergywoman, i am especially convicted by the critique of the church as an institution that does good only on Sundays, conflates justice with charity, and exchanges the poverty of Jesus for capitalistic prosperity. there is a flailing faith center in the fight against poverty, which is unfortunate because religious traditions, including but not limited to, Christianity, possess the means for leveling economic fields, galvanizing political resources and making lasting transformation. altogether, this documentary is a formidable, motivation, and it calls viewers into the fight. more importantly, it calls viewers into relationship, thereby humanizing the numbers and statistics of poverty through personal engagement with the poor and taking on their pain as our own, to feel and to eradicate.

rev. neichelle r. guidry, phd

“The Atlanta Voice” Features LBW

This past week, we were featured in an article in “The Atlanta Voice” addressing the continuing issue of homelessness in Atlanta. 

We were able to speak about the housing crisis for people experiencing homelessness, and our new idea for alternative housing.

You can check out the article by clicking the image below:

LBW Team

Meeting at Center + Second Screening

MORE TICKETS AVAILABLE: Today, we had a meeting with the Center For Civil & Human Rights (@ctr4chr), and learned that we have a few more tickets available.

If you haven’t already, grab some extra tickets before they are all gone again.

If you have a heart for those experiencing homelessness and poverty, this film is for you.

To claim your free ticket, visit https://voicelessfilm.eventbrite.com

Seats are going fast.

#voicelessfilm #lovebeyondwalls

LBW Team

Voiceless Documentary Pre-Screening Testimonials

Earlier this week, we pre-screened our “Voiceless” documentary to a group of youth (and their leaders) that traveled from Orlando, FL to serve the community with us. Brace yourselves! Their responses were raw, honest, and inspiring. We can’t wait to reveal the film to the public in August.

To learn more, visit lovebeyondwalls.org/voicelessfilm

Voiceless – Testimonials from Love Beyond Walls on Vimeo.

LBW Team

Official MAP16 Documentary Trailer & Poverty Panel

Yesterday, Johnny Taylor and I (Terence) got a chance to share a small piece of the #MAP16 journey with the public for the first time since we’ve been back from Washington, DC.

Additionally, we got a chance to share our “official” documentary trailer. Would you like to see it? Most of it was shot during the walk!

Hold on to your seats… It’s powerful.

Official March Against Poverty Documentary Trailer from Love Beyond Walls on Vimeo.

Below are a couple of pictures:

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If you’d like to contribute to our work to help us complete this feature film, visit lovebeyondwalls.org/give

#lovebeyondwalls #lovecenter