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.”
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.
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.
To contribute to this project and help us raise the last $6,000 we need to finish our project click [HERE]
Today, I took another leap of faith as a social impact leader. We purchased a 40FT Shipping Container to create something that doesn’t exist in Atlanta or around the country. I feel all of the vulnerability that you have in starting a new project. Why? Because this will be our biggest and most meaningful conversion project to date. However, I’m being driven by two things:
Firstly, I’m being driven by the fact that there are many people suffering and need honest advocacy. Second and last, I’m being driven because I know this is what God would have us do to take #lovebeyondwalls
Excited to share the details soon. The countdown just got real.
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.
“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.
Today is DAY 4 of #MAP18 and my body is feeling the wear and tear already. Not to mention, I just looked outside and it’s raining. I remember these types of days during the last walk, and they are draining.
If I’m honest, I’d like to pack up my bags and go home where it’s comfortable and safe.
Why? Because the roads ahead of me are long, and filled with the unknown. But, I’m the type of person that never commits to anything that I’m not willing to complete and finish.
Sometimes people think because I do these type of campaigns that fear isn’t present, but that’s actually not true. Fear is always there, but my faith is greater!
I believe a little bit of fear is always present with all of us, and that same fear paralyzes some people from moving forward. It’s only four days into this journey and the fear is telling me to
stop and go back home!
But, each time I see a different face of someone who is poor, voiceless, or vulnerable God’s courage tells me to continue.
We must press and move past the fear in order to fulfill our purpose(s). How fear is holding you back and telling you to go home?
Maybe to overcome it, you may have to do what I’m doing and listen to courage and faith more.
Last night, I was reminded that I’m not only walking for people who are poor, but also for those who may need to have their perspectives changed.
I was inboxed over Facebook by a man that I never met, but he said my posts changed his perspective.
“Hey Terence. First of thank you for caring for the people of the world unconditionally. Second thank you for moving me. I seen a post of yours about 30 minutes ago and have been scroll threw your page. I’m young and have a young family and you have inspired me, and reminded me that I have so much to be thankful for. I have been feeling a little lost and it realized threw your videos and post and movement that it’s because I have been focused on myself and my family. When someone out there would love to just have a warm meal or even a kind word. Again thank you. I will share your story in hopes that your movement may change the world or at the very least someone else’s moment.”
His posts echos two messages that will push me today.
Firstly, it echos that no matter where we are in life, we should remain grateful. Gratitude is the fuel that keeps us focused on what matters most and centers us inwardly. This same gratitude pushes us to stand in awe of God.
Second and last, it echos that life is too short to only be focused on yourself and play it safe. We are are given opportunities to serve those around us and we must be bold in serving others.
As I close this blog, I’m thinking about Jesus’ words found in Luke 4,
“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”
Luke 4:18-19, NKJV