Last night, I skipped prayer meeting to attend a function at my local community college. I wish I could say I had philanthropic and altruistic motives for my attendance, but the truth is that the host of the event was a college readiness program, and I’ve got just a few years before my big girl heads off to the HBCU of her choice (fingers crossed.)
So I loaded up the tribe and headed to campus, where I was met with smiling faces, and a stack of pamphlets and brochures to peruse at my leisure.
This was not your ordinary college preparatory workshop. The facilitator wasn’t up on a dais, looking down on hopeful faces. There wasn’t a TED Talk-style headset microphone or podium. Instead, we were met by a tiny powerhouse of a woman and a 5 piece band. Her task was to teach us the New Orleans style Second-line. But her goal was to use her art to create community. Amazingly, she succeeded At both!
In two hours time, she took a room full of strangers, people from different cultures and colors, (I know I heard at least three different languages being spoken) and created a community. At the end of the night we were all celebrating one another, dancing together, and sharing a moment. That was the first transformation.
The second transformation was more personal. We got to see a little girl recognizing and owning her own power and voice. We got to see Dad kicking up heels instead of putting his foot down.
My favorite transformation was watching the shy little boy who wAs in the corner playing video games (he only put it down because the battery died). At first, he refused to move outside of the his little area. He barely shuffled his feet. But the music and energy in the room proved to be too much, and by the end of the night, my son was standing in the center of the floor showing off his footwork. All eyes were on him, and the entire room was cheering him on.
I saw Michelle N. Gibson, the Artist do in two hours, what i’ve Seen churches, civic organizations, and other associations attempt to do for years,with little to no affect. She created a sense community and she transformed lives. The world needs more of this.
Check her out: http://www.michellengibson.com/performing-artist.html