“Reflections on The Justice Conference” by Carrie Pierce Kuba
For me, the Justice Conference began in the cab ride from Chicago. Upon answering the driver’s question as to why I am in the Windy City, I replied that I was here for the conference. Before I knew it, I was watching a YouTube video on his phone. You see – being a driver is his second job. His first job is as a producer of films, as well as a weekly television program in his native Bosnia that highlights the humanitarian work his team does throughout his country. I asked for his business card, aware that the very community I was about to join are the very people who would be excited to support the work he does.
The Justice Conference was held within a three block radius of its main venue, The Auditorium Theater in Chicago, IL. I arrived a day earlier than the main conference in order to participate in the Human Trafficking track of the Pre-Conference. Other tracks offered were Race & Reconciliation, Activism, Faith & Peace, and Global Poverty. There is also a Justice Poetry Slam and a Justice Film Festival. My only regret was the inability to attend them all. The beauty of the Justice Conference is that it has a collaborative spirit to it. I know this for a fact, as I have attended every one over the past five years. And it is why I am there – because every voice – every single person’s gifting – is needed and this is a place where one can come and find out exactly how to use those gifts to…
love mercy, and
The kick off officially began Friday night with Dr. Cornel West. Can you think of a better voice to begin a conference on justice? I wish I could write down his entire speech for you, but here are some highlights:
“Indifference to evil is more evil than evil itself.”
“You are called to love! And that’s it! The rest is not your business!”
“I want to die (to self) every day so that the best of me can emerge.”
“Tenderness is what justice looks like in private. It’s about how we treat each other interpersonally.”
(If you want to hear his entire talk, keep an eye on the website, because the talks will be available for download)
The conference continued with one powerful speaker after another, as well as Malcolm London (gifted poet), Micah Bournes (spoken word artist), an incredible drumline, a worship band, and music by Crowder and Rend Collective.
Here are some quotes from the speakers:
“Love everybody. Always. Start with the ones that creep you out.” – Bob Goff
“Violence against women anywhere is violence against me.” – Belinda Bauman
“Women who have chosen to become friends when the world says they should be enemies? Now that’s holy.” – Lynne Hybels
“Charity is simply giving someone crumbs off your table. Justice is giving someone a seat at the table” – Jenny Yang
“Privilege is to declare that the God in someone else is less than the God in me.” – Rev. Traci Blackmon
“Seek to understand before seeking to be understood.” – Jonathan Merritt
“Any privilege is blindness, and the Gospel is about light.” – Rev. Dr. Gabriel Salguero
“Aggregate your influence and collectively raise awareness.” – Louie Giglio
“Justice is not a fad and it is not a trend. Justice must be a part of our worship of God. Justice is worship.” – Eugene Cho
In the end, that is the very heart of it, isn’t it?
We gather together,
in a spirit of collective humility,
to learn and to grow together,
in order to go out and better serve our neighbor,
the world over.
Carrie Pierce Kuba is a mom, daughter, wife, friend, writer, and activist.
She is the Founder of Someone’s Child, an organization that educates, builds bridges, and connects families to anti-trafficking efforts via social media. Like everyone else, she has a blog, which can be found at www.raindropsandrivers.com.
Her desire is to simply pour out what God pours in.
Photos 1 and 2 by The Justice Conference, and photo 3 by Carrie Pierce Kuba.