In honor of Black History Month, LMM Community Engagement Coordinator Gloria Craig shares her original poem, Who I BE, along with a reflection on her time with LMM thus far.
Who I BE
I am Her,
Goddess of the sunlight, melanin Queen, from me streams Life, Big L
I am She,
The woman of yellow, red, orange, blue, green; whatever color you mention it look good on me
I am Her,
Her that carries her mother, brother, sister, friend as if they were apart of her own skin
She, She who will always open door no matter how many are closed on me
Your sister, your friend, you lover too.
What you do to me, you do to you.
Light – pouring in when you are running low, knowing that joy can be found in ANY room its all about how far you are willing to go.
Comfort when it’s Nice
Truth when it is Necessary
A lover Everyday
And a Fighter by generational spirit.
Now WHO are you?
May I see?
Now, that I have allowed you to see
Who I BE.
Written BY: Gloria LaJoy
Hello LMM Family!
My name is Gloria Craig and I am the Community Engagement Coordinator here at Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry. I was raised in Indianapolis, IN and have lived in Cleveland for almost 4 years now. I originally moved here for school while pursuing my Master’s Degree in Social Work at Case Western Reserve University. Prior to Case, I attended Wittenberg University where I received a Degree in Sociology, with a minor in Justice, Law, & Public Policy.
I stepped into the role of Community Engagement Coordinator in Sept. 2021. Since I started I have had the opportunity to engage with stakeholders, program participants, and staff throughout the LMM community. Advocating for policy change, increasing awareness of the importance of being civically engaged, and participating in the planning of forums & assemblies; are only half of what I have been up to lately as I move forward in this position.
From an organizational lens, often, when trying to figure out whether we want to partner with others our first line of business may be to take a look at their mission and vision statement. We do this to evaluate whether there is a connection between not just the work we do, but more importantly why we do the work and how we decide to do the work. While I am no organization, I once attended a presentation where the presenter asked his audience, “what is their personal mission statement”? This of course made me start to think about mine. What is my mission statement and how do I reflect that statement in my work and frankly in my day-to-day life?
Well, if I’m being honest I didn’t know what my mission statement was at that time, and something I learned is that they may not be fixed– meaning it can change or alter depending on where I am in life. The work I have been doing as the Community Engagement Coordinator at LMM has assisted me in understanding and clarifying my personal mission statement. Having the opportunity to put together programming for not just our program participants, but our staff has given me the ability to create spaces for people to not only learn and share pieces of themselves in the context of the work we do, but also in the context of social justice issues we are currently experiencing or have experienced. An example of this would be the recent Martin Luther King Jr. Day event titled Protest History: Riots, Marches, & Movements.
This program focused on different uprisings and rebellions that have taken place throughout American history, as well as in Ohio and Cleveland. I learned a lot through reading about the history of these different events, but the true learning took place when staff shared their perspectives regarding proximity to certain events, thoughts, and feelings that they experienced during those moments.
I look forward to continuing to emphasize programming that allows people to walk away with clear information and allows people to foster community within the spaces they occupy. “Healing, reflection, learning, and the will to show compassion even in moments of discomfort or misunderstanding”, is currently where my mission statement has landed for the year. With that being said, I fully acknowledge that it may be different by the end of this year. But what I know is that as long as it aligns with the work I enjoy doing and my purpose—I am in the right place! What is your personal mission statement?