Sophomore songwriting major MacKenzie Wilson is taking a stand against human trafficking—and dozens of Belmont students are standing with her.
From March 5-15, International Justice Mission’s (IJM) Stand for Freedom, a national anti-slavery movement, is encouraging colleges and communities across the nation to help bring awareness to human trafficking. Wilson has answered the call along with fellow students who are members in the Belmont chapter of IJM, and the students even created a YouTube video to help promote their efforts.
Beginning last night at 7 p.m., Belmont students stood in either the University Ministries area in Gabhart or outside in the Belltower amphitheatre for 27 consecutive hours in order to raise both money and awareness for the 27 million people currently affected by human trafficking. The effort has already raised more than $1,500; the group hopes to raise $2,700 before the donation campaign concludes on March 31. All money raised will go to International Justice Mission, an international human rights agency whose founder and president, Gary Haugen, spoke on campus last fall.
Over the course of the “Stand for Freedom,” a number of events were held in order to bring further awareness to human trafficking, including a kick-off concert Thursday night and a talk from Wayne Barnard, the national director of student ministries for IJM. (more…)
Tickets, which go on sale tomorrow, Feb. 26, at 10 a.m., are general admission and can be purchased for $25. Tickets can be purchased on-line by clicking here or at www.ticketsnashville.com, by calling (615) 460-8500, or in person at the Curb Event Center box office (Monday – Friday, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.).
The same day that Leesburg, Georgia-bred Phillip Phillips claimed his victory in the season 11 finale of “American Idol,” the 22-year-old songwriter/guitarist released “Home,” a debut single that showcases his rich, raspy vocals and masterful guitar skills. The track has since gone quadruple platinum and was used as the soundtrack for the 2012 U.S. Olympics Women’s Gymnastics team. Phillips released his debut album The World From the Side of the Moon in November where it debuted at No. 4 on Billboard’s Top 200 chart and has already reached gold status. Phillips is currently enjoying a 20+ college headlining tour after opening earlier this year for Matchbox 20, and his second single “Gone Gone Gone” releases this month.
Internationally acclaimed Mezzo-Soprano Denyce Graves, known for her portrayal of Carmen, will perform as a soloist and join various School of Music ensembles at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 15 in the McAfee Concert Hall to present a concert celebrating the world’s diversity and bringing an awareness of tolerance, peace and unity.
The Celebration of Unity concert is free, open to the public and part of the inaugural season celebration of the McAfee Concert Hall. Tickets are required because seating is limited and can be reserved at www.bemont.edu/music.
As a young girl growing up in Washington, D.C., Graves performed in a family singing group called the Inspirational Children of God. Graves also belonged to her church “bus ministry,” visiting neighborhood families to encourage parents to enroll their children in Sunday school. Shortly after undergoing vocal cord surgery, she sang the Lord’s Prayer at the Cathedral service following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Brown University Professor Glenn Loury condemned comparisons between two-term U.S. President Barack Obama and slain civil rights leader the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on Friday in the Massey Performing Arts Center during the pinnacle of Belmont’s MLK Week 2013.
During his keynote address, “Obama is No King: On the Fracturing of the Black Prophetic Tradition,” Loury emphasized Obama’s presidential election is not the fulfillment of King’s dream, despite its historical significance, because of the men’s contradicting agendas, actions and beliefs.
Loury juxtaposed the president’s 2009 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech with King’s 1967 speech against the Vietnam War. In his speech, Obama acknowledged force must be used, and such an acknowledgment is “not a call to cynicism.” On the other hand, King continuously advocated for nonviolence.
Politics prevent Obama from acting as a champion of issues directly affecting African-Americans and fully acting to provide solutions for the numerous race-related issues that continue to plague the United States, he said, highlighting critic’s responses to Obama’s comments on the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Gates in his home and the killing of unarmed Florida teenager Travon Martin. Instead, Obama focuses on rights for gays, women and illegal immigrants because advocating for African-Americans would make him appear as perusing his personal agenda, Loury said. Meanwhile, African-Americans continue to have higher incarceration rates, lower incomes and lower levels of education compared to their American counterparts. (more…)
Belmont University partners with STARS for Mid-South PeaceJam
In an extraordinary joint initiative, Iranian-born Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi will speak at a free, public event Friday night, January 25, as part of Nashville’s first ever PeaceJam. PeaceJam is built around leading Nobel Peace Laureates who work personally with youth to pass on the spirit, skills and wisdom they embody. The goal of PeaceJam is to create young leaders committed to positive change in themselves, their communities and the world. To reserve free tickets for the Friday night event, visit http://tinyurl.com/ShirinEbadiAtBelmont.
Shirin Ebadi said, “PeaceJam is an amazing program that really changes the lives of young people, and I am looking forward to working side by side with Belmont students and hundreds of high school age youth from across Nashville and the state. I learn so much from working with these inspiring youth leaders—whether they are in my country of Iran or here in Nashville—who are doing projects to address real issues in their communities from bullying and violence to cleaning up the environment.”
Belmont University is partnering with locally-based nonprofit Students Taking a Right Stand (STARS) to be the PeaceJam Mid-South affiliate, which includes Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas and Kentucky. The Jan. 25 talk, to be held in the Curb Event Center, opens a weekend-long conference expected to draw more than 250 college, high school and middle school students to explore issues of peace, violence, social justice and oppression with a community service component.
Dr. Mimi Barnard, Belmont’s assistant provost for interdisciplinary studies & global education, has been heavily involved in bringing PeaceJam to Middle Tennessee. “We live in an increasingly complex geopolitical context, yet we are called to love our neighbor. We are confident that this collaboration with STARS in hosting the Mid-South PeaceJam will make a profound impact on hundreds of youth throughout the region while also inspiring future leaders of our community, our nation and our world.”
STARS CEO Rodger Dinwiddie added, “We’re excited to see hundreds of young people experience this life-changing event and be inspired to tackle tough issues ranging from breaking the cycle of violence and bullying to ending racism and hate. Having Shirin Ebadi as our Nobel Peace Laureate for the inaugural year is a tremendous honor and a timely appearance given the ongoing global issues impacting women and children’s rights.”