Two weeks ago, the Urban Hope Young Leaders Group (our leadership lab for high school students) journeyed to Washington, DC, on a spring break "Power Trip." We called it a Power Trip because we hoped to experience the power in our history, vocation, education, community, spirituality, and play. From Saturday, April 8th until Thursday, April 13th, young leaders (Ishmael, Jourdan, DJ, Edgar) and staff members (Brandon, Milton, Marchelle) road tripped and pit stopped, prayed and sang, cooked and ate, laughed and argued, listened and learned, played and rested, observed and experienced, all the while growing together into a greater sense of wholeness. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so we've shared a few as a meditation on the power we found.
Power in our History
On Tuesday, April 11th, we visited the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. For some of us, it was the first time. For others, a second or third. For all, it was a transformative experience highlighting the power of the past in shaping the present and the future.
Power in our Education
During the trip, we toured the campuses of Howard and Bowie State Universities, prominent HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges & Universities). At Howard, Milton persuaded a professor to let us in the art gallery after hours so we got a personal view of the school's phenomenal collection.
Power in our Spirituality
Maybe the most powerful part of our trip was the time we spent reflecting on the spiritual significance of the experiences we had and people we met. Milton focused our hearts on a passage of the Bible from Ezekiel 37:1-14 asking what it means for God to call us to speak life in a valley of dry bones.
Power in our Vocation
On Monday, April 10th, with the help of NC Representative G.K. Butterfield's office, we hosted a "Power in Vocation" lunch with several DC black professionals. The kids heard from and engaged with panelists on the kind of work they did, how they got there, and how it gave them purpose.
Power in our Community
Throughout our journey, we developed relationships with old and new friends. We worshipped with Largo Community Church, had a cookout and ice cream social with the Burrell family, and learned from staff at the Shaw Community Center about their efforts to transform their neighborhood.
Power in our Play
In our time together, we discovered that while play can be an activity, it is really an aspect of our orientation towards life. Whether working as a team to solve a mystery (we almost had it) or striking funny poses, play allows us not to take life so seriously and helps disrupt the systems that stress us out.
There's power in the people so we party like the Panthers...
...lifting every voice, you know there's power in the anthems
On our last day in DC, we stopped by Lincoln Park to reflect on the different ways we experienced God's power during our trip and how we felt empowered to bring that new knowledge and insight back home. Edgar, one of the young guys in the group, had been working on a harmony of Walk in the Light, which we had been singing almost daily. Check out our impromptu performance in the park and feel free to sing along!
Walk in the light, the beautiful light
Come where the dewdrops of mercy shine bright
Shine all around us by day and by night
Jesus, the light of the world
Where do you find power in your life???
With Thanksgiving in our Hearts
We want to give a special shout out to the following partners for their generous financial support of our Young Leaders Group:
- Tony, Susan and Bryan Fisher (University Ford)
- Duke University's Doing Good in the Neighborhood Campaign
- Leadership Education at Duke Divinity Innovation Grant
- Crossroads Fellowship Foundation
- The City Well Church
- The Navigators' Kairos Fund
We are grateful for all who contribute to our work whether by giving financially, donating supplies, volunteering time, or lifting us up in prayer. Please contact us if you would like to know more about how you can support and get involved!