The Voices Blog

"Truth is powerful and it prevails.” - Sojourner Truth

January 29, 2020

Mamba

I like many others was stunned on Sunday morning January 26th when I heard the news that Kobe Bryant his daughter and 7 other people were killed in a helicopter crash. I am a huge sports fan and the name Kobe Bryant was extremely familiar although even those who are not sports fans were also[…]

December 19, 2019

Middle-aged White Male

In working together on church, justice, and cultural work, Jess and I (Leroy) have had many conversations in airports and walks as we travel and do conferences.  I asked him to write a letter specifically to his demographic of middle-aged white men about their work in these spaces.  Here is our blog: Dear Middle-Aged White[…]

December 3, 2019

Telling Your Story

For leaders of color, as you grow in leadership you will be asked to speak at and into white initiates in the form of conferences, article contributions, or “conversations”.  As you do, there are plenty of problematic dynamics to identify. These are unique moments of pressure to join in and tell the stories of your[…]

November 14, 2019

White Hero

Be on the lookout for white heroes. Trust your instincts that these leaders are not as impressive as white folks think they are. White Hero – (n) – A charismatic leader of an organization who can captivate a white audience that builds their hero worship. White heroes are usually the top leaders in industries designed[…]

October 24, 2019

System is not a relationship

When personal or professional relationships are mediated by a system they cannot be built upon the necessary authentic, reciprocal, and vulnerable foundations. Take the hit television show Survivor, for instance. Relationships are built within the system of the game. People may have similar backgrounds or interests, but their interactions with one another are fully guided[…]

  For the work with young leaders of color within the Greater Northwest Area of the United Methodist Church we have adopted the language of “leadership identification” rather than “leadership development”. This is a strategic move. Any large predominantly white institution cannot do leadership development with young leaders of color and make the necessary changes[…]

September 16, 2019

Eye of the needle

In 1744, Wesley wrote, “[When I die] if I leave behind me ten pounds … you and all mankind [may] bear witness against me, that I have lived and died a thief and a robber.” This is countercultural to good sense today.  We are responsible to plan for the future, make sure we can take[…]

September 9, 2019

New Expression of Methodism

The Innovation and Vitality team I work with is commissioned to “New People, New Places, New Leadership.”  We have defined “New People” and “New Leadership” through community, neighborhoods, young leaders, and leaders of color.  It hit me the other day that we really have not defined what “New Places” looks like. What are the new[…]

September 3, 2019

Baseball is Dying

Let me start by saying I love baseball. I learned the game when I was young and fell in love with it because of my uncle John who would take my brothers and I to games every summer when we were kids. Veterans Stadium was magical to me. I can still remember Mike Schmidt hitting[…]

By The Voices Project Interns Brian Preap and Romare Ashford Jonny Sanders Jonny is an Egyptian and Native American music producer from Northeast Portland who dishes out avant-garde celestial/psychedelic beats that will take you to another world. This talent came to know music through generations of family members in the music industry including Portland’s very[…]