18 DAYS AWAY – MAP18

In 18 Days, we will launch #MAP18 to take a stand against systemic poverty and racial division.

Terence will walk 386 miles from Atlanta, GA to Memphis, Tennessee to the motel where King was assassinated to bring attention to poverty and division (two of the triple evils that King stood against).

Through this journey Johnny & Terence hope to model what in means to walk together in unity and stand against an issue that plagues millions of lives.

Will you join us in the March Against Poverty 2018?

Follow the conversation! #MAP18 #LoveBeyondWalls #MLK50th

LBW Team

Supporting Students Experiencing Homelessness

This week, Love Beyond Walls got an amazing opportunity to support many students experiencing homelessness at Frank McClarin High School. We recently learned that many students in this school are fighting homelessness as they try to gain an education to better their lives.

The school is located less than a mile away from our Center in College Park.

With the support of many generous donors, we were able to provide resources to single teen mothers and the daycare housed at the school.

As days go on, we will continue working with this school and among its students. Why? Because we see education being a tool that can be used to overcome the plight of poverty.

Thank you for you continued support of our work!

LBW Team

26 Days Away – MAP18

The official countdown to the March Against Poverty 2018 campaign has begun. In 26 days, Terence & Johnny will set out on a journey to unify us against systemic poverty.

Terence will walk 386 miles to the motel where King was assassinated to bring attention to poverty, and to take a stand for reconciliation. Guess what? The Lorraine Motel is partnering with us and has added #MAP18 to their calendar of events.

Through this journey we hope to shed a light on systemic poverty, racial division, and join the national conversation on reconciliation.

Will you join us in the March Against Poverty 2018?

Follow the conversation or attend the send off! The tickets are almost gone.

Simply click the button below.

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.

James Is Transforming

Sometimes we are unable to put into words how we feel doing this work at Love Beyond Walls —

I (Terence) met James a little over a month ago. He was homeless, jobless, hungry, and without a place to stay.

We welcomed him into our #lovebeyondwalls community and surrounded him with tons of people who saw his worth and value.

In a little over a month, he joined a church, got a place to stay temporarily, started volunteering with us, and yesterday we celebrated that he got a new job less than a mile away from our Center.

Not only does this affirm his dignity, but it reveals to us ALL the importance of the “one.” It’s not always about huge numbers!

Sometimes it’s about the impact you can make in someones life right in front of you.

We are giving our lives to see people’s lives transformed.

Terence

MAP 18 Conversation Starter on Poverty and Racial Division

Overview:

Here are some basic facts on poverty in America:

  • In 2015 there were 43.1 million people in poverty.  (Proctor 2016, p. 12-14)
  • The 2015 poverty rate for Blacks was 24., for Hispanics 21.4, and for Asians 11.4 percent. For non-Hispanic whites, the poverty rate was 9.1 percent (Proctor 2016, p. 12-4).
  • The poverty rate for children under 18 was 19.7 percent in 2015, and the number of children in poverty was 14.5 million. Children represented 23.1 percent of the total population and 33.6 percent of people in poverty (Proctor 2016, p. 14).
  • 19.4 million Americans live in extreme poverty. This means their family’s cash income is less than half of the poverty line or about $10,000 a year for a family of four. They represented 6.1 percent of all people and 45.1 percent of those in poverty.

Terms to know:

Wealth Inequality:
Income inequality refers to the extent to which income is distributed in an uneven manner among a population. In the United States, income inequality, or the gap between the rich and everyone else, has been growing markedly, by every major statistical measure, for 30+ years.

Wage Gap:
The difference in rates of pay between two groups of people. For example, the difference in pay based on gender and race.

Institutional Oppression:
The systematic mistreatment of people within a social identity group supported and enforced by the society and its institutions, solely based on the person’s membership in the social identity group. For example, schools in a lower-income neighborhood have fewer funds, more students, and as a result, receive a poorer education.

Redlining:
The legal process that lasted from  1934 until 1968 that refused to back loans to black people or even other people who lived near black people. Redlining destroyed the possibility of investment wherever black people lived.
(Read this article for more info on redlining.)

Hurdles to Overcome:

  1. Question: Do you believe that you have contributed to systemic racism?

    Discuss your answers and read the following idea as well as watch the video.

    Individualized Oppression:
    This is the idea that because you did not own a slave, you do not contribute to oppression or racism. In fact, if you most likely have benefited from a system that oppressed a group and race to boost the privileged.
    (Watch this video with Soong-Chan Rah on this idea.)
  2. Question: Have you benefited from a system that has oppressed others?
  3. Question: What is a healthy way to respond to racism?

    Discuss with a group and read the following idea:

    “Color-Blindness”:
    A popular response to racism became the idea of “color-blindness” where some claimed not to see color, but just people. While this concept probably came from good intentions, it perpetuates misunderstanding and racism further. “Color-blindness” strips minorities of their individual culture and assumes that everyone has had the same experience. It pushes aside the critically important narrative of oppression for the minority when in fact this narrative is vital to the understanding and improvement of the systemic oppression.
    (Read this article for more info on this topic.)

Dream:

What does it look like for a society to care for the poor and eliminate systemic oppression?

A large movement behind this campaign is reconciliation. In light of that, who could you start a conversation with that might believe or think differently than you?

Brainstorm:

An Awareness Campaign:

Create a public awareness campaign based on an issue you discussed.
The campaign may include posters, flyers, banners, etc. that would raise awareness around the world. What would it be? Why?

Final Questions:

What are some of the needs of your own community?

What are conversations you can start with your community?

When is the time to start making an impact?

To learn more about our campaign, please visit lovebeyondwalls.org/map18

Want to download this Conversation Starter as a PDF? Click 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

MAP 18 FAQ’s

#MAP18 FAQ’s

What is MAP18?

MAP18 is the March Against Poverty, a national awareness campaign in partnership with the Center for Civil and Human Rights that exists to give a voice to the marginalized, mobilize people on the sidelines, and bring people together from all walks of life.

The march will begin at The Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta and finish at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, where Dr. King was assassinated, on April 4th, the 50th anniversary of the assassination.

A rally at The Center for Civil and Human Rights will serve as the launch for the campaign featuring remarks from civil rights leaders. The gathering will bring together people from all walks of life and nationalities to engage in a national conversation on racial division and systemic poverty.

Why are you walking 386 miles?

I’m walking to raise awareness for the millions of people trapped in systemic poverty and affected by racial division in America. Through this campaign, we intend to get people to take a stand against poverty and racial division.

This year, on the 50th anniversary of MLK’s assassination for giving his life to fight against racial injustice, war, and poverty, we honor him as a hero and a legacy as well as honor his mission through continuing this campaign for justice.

Who has done this type of walk before – are there any examples?

There are many examples of people who marched and walked long distances on behalf of others. In fact, much of my inspiration comes from many people listed below:

Martin Luther King Jr. – marched/walked on behalf persons of color and others being mistreated with unequal rights. He sacrificed his life so African Americans would be considered equal (March on Washington / Selma to Montgomery).

Jesus – marched and walked toward a Cross on Calvary’s Hill to sacrifice His life for the sins/poverty of others. He gave all so people could be reconciled to God in Heaven.

Zach Bonner – marched/walked several times across the country at a very young age to fight hunger among youth and families through his organization Little Red Wagon Foundation (My House to The White House / 1,225 miles).

Darryl Cloud – rode a bike across the country (in his 80’s) 2,400 miles to raise awareness for veterans that struggle with disabilities.

Why are you walking around the 50th anniversary of Dr.King’s assassination?

I am walking around the 50th anniversary of Dr.King’s assassination in hopes to raise awareness to the same campaigns and issues Dr.King also fought for. Before he was killed, he planned his next initiative, The Poor People’s Campaign.

MLK believed that the next step towards equality was to eradicate a system that even today keeps members of society enslaved to poverty. He believed that systemic poverty was a civil rights issue, and so do we.

Who are you?

My name is Terence Lester, and I am the Executive Director of a non-profit organization called Love Beyond Walls. I have been working in the community for 14 years, and have devoted my life to serving the poor and marginalized. I am happily married to my best friend, Cecilia Lester, and we have two children who mean the world to us.

What sparked the idea?

Every single week, people who struggle with poverty must walk miles and miles just to gain access to basic necessities to survive. Whatever reason, many people walk because they lack transportation and most times—hope.

This year, the march is also symbolic of those who have gone before us to march for what they believed was right. And in wake of the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination, we march because he also marched. We stand up and walk for those who cannot and do not have a voice.

Why the name #MAP18?

MAP18 stands for “March Against Poverty in 2018.” We chose MAP because a map is a symbolism for direction. Not only do we hope to inspire onlookers to get involved, but to inspire people to create life-maps that will lead them out of poverty.

Why walk instead of riding a bike or traveling in a car?

I have chosen to walk because when you walk—you see more, and understand more.

Additionally, walking has many symbolisms:

  1. Walking symbolizes long-suffering. There are many people who wrestle with poverty and have felt the effects of racial division for a long time. I have chosen to walk this distance to identify with those who suffer and fight against systemic conditions for long periods of time.
  2. Walking symbolizes taking one step at a time. There are no quick fixes when it comes to poverty and racial division, however, we can collectively provide solutions and make strides one-step at a time. Additionally, if someone is wrestling with these issues, we’d like this demonstration to symbolize that they can be overcome one step at a time.
  3. Walking symbolizes the ordinary. Sometimes people think that we need to have magical powers before we make a difference in the lives of others and the world. That’s not true. We are making this trip to inspire individuals, small organizations, and groups of people to take a stand for something. Everyday ordinary people can make a difference.

Who is partnering with you to do this?

This year we are partnering with:

  • The SCLC
  • The Center For Civil And Human Rights
  • Wheat Street Baptist Church
  • Georgia NAACP
  • Atlanta NAACP
  • Georgia Alliance for Social Justice
  • Pulse Church
  • Atlanta Influences Everything
  • Phoenix Leadership Foundation
  • And many other great people and organizations

What about your family during the time you are away?

Just like the many families who allow their loved ones go to fight in wars overseas on behalf of the country, my wife and children are allowing me to go and fight a different type of war. It’s a war for all people wrestling with poverty and racial injustice in this country.

In fact, my wife has encouraged me to follow my heart and walk every single step on behalf of those who don’t have a voice and need hope.

How can people join you on the journey?

On this site, there will be a digital drop pin that identifies my every location. People will be able to access the site to see exactly where I am at all times. (There’s also a more detailed list of ways to get involved here.)

Where will you sleep?

We will travel in our Mobile Makeovers Bus and stay inside it at night. We will be safe as we use rest stops and hotel/motel lots to sleep in.

How are you going to travel?

I am going to walk 12.5 miles a day for 30 days until I arrive at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, where Dr. King was assassinated. The Mobile Makeover Bus will follow behind me for the entire distance.

If you raise money, what will it be used for?

If we raise money, we will create and produce our next documentary on race as well as expand our “Love Center” in Atlanta to create the serve more people who wrestle with poverty and injustice week to week.

How many miles do you plan to walk per day?

12.5 miles.

What are you eating?

We will eat healthy foods (salads, sandwiches, fruits & veggies) on the journey every day.

We even have one of our partners who will donate healthy juice to start us off to make sure we are energized.

Additionally, if people bring us meals we will also eat what people bring to support us on our journey.

What will happen at the end of the journey?

At the finish line, we will host a press conference and charge to challenge others to stand up for justice, march for what they believe is right, and continue the journey of reconciliation.

Can I share the story?

Yes. We encourage you to share this story with family members, friends, co-workers, and anyone who will listen to the stories that we share on this journey.

Will this be documented?

Yes. We are going to turn this journey into a documentary.

What can we do to get involved?

There are several ways you can help:

  1. Record and post a video to social about why we need to address poverty and also have a nation healed of racial tension.
  2. Share the campaign with your network and also use your platform to bring attention to poverty and reconciliation.
  3. Come to the rally at The Center For Civil & Human Rights
  4. Interview for our Film on Racial Reconciliation called GRACE FILM
  5. Come join Terence and Johnny on the walk to Memphis
  6. Give financially to resources for the walk to Memphis
  7. Share video footage of walk/march

Will you be safe doing this?

Safety is an issue. No one really knows if they will be fully safe (no matter where you are). However, we will practice safe traveling skills. We will stay in populated areas, communicate to those who are following us and make sure we avoid any tensed areas.

What’s needed for the journey?

Currently, we will need food, gas, encouragement, supporters, and people to donate socks and diapers.

What are the checkpoints?

We will post checkpoints via social media. There will also be a drop pin map on the site for you to follow.

How could the local church get involved?

Your local church can get involved by coming to serve with us, doing small group studies on what God says about the poor, starting to serve needs in the community where your church is planted, or partner with us financially on a month-to-month basis.

Can I give monthly?

Yes. You can become a monthly partner. In fact, your monthly contribution is what will empower us to reach, serve, and assist more people as they aim to climb out of the pits of poverty. Your contribution will help us inspire hope in those who are hopeless and voiceless.