Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Advocating for the Homeless: Lorenza Andrade Smith

Wednesday, Dec. 7th - 'Advocating for Systemic Change' by Lorenza Andrade Smith - 1-2pm, Ridenour Room, Dauch College of Business & Economics, Ashland University.

Lorenza Andrade Smith took a leave of absence from her church and conference duties and renounced all of her possessions, including her home, her car and her salary.  She chose to become homeless to fight for the homeless.

Hear her amazing journey on Wednesday, December 7th, from 1-2pm in the Ridenour Room, Dauch College of Business & Economics on Ashland University's main campus.  This presentation is FREE and open to the public.
At age 42, Smith has already led several lives: that of a U.S. Air Force cadet, a housewife and mother, and the pastor of a United Methodist congregation in San Antonio. Contrary to her short stature and soft-spoken nature, Smith now leads the life of an outspoken advocate with a penchant for protest and latched onto politically charged social movements gaining her national attention.  Smith sold all her possessions, rejected her church salary and benefits (which she estimates at around $45,000 a year), and traded her bed for benches, park grass, and parking-lot asphalt. This life has become her newest protest on behalf of the poor and marginalized, she says, a fight for "systemic change."

Over the last few months, Smith has moved between shelters, local rallies, the U.S./Mexico border, jail cells, and meetings with local faith leaders at a frantic pace. "Really, the goal of this is to be in community with those who do not have a voice. ... I'm learning from them, this isn't charity."

In photo above, the Rev. Lorenza Andrade-Smith (right) visits with Jody, a homeless man who is taking shelter inside a box culvert beneath a busy street in El Paso, Texas. A UMNS photo by Mike DuBose.

This program is being underwritten by the Department of Foreign Language, Department of Religion and the Ashland Center for Nonviolence at Ashland University.


Anonymous said...

This is going to be a great program!

Lindsay Walker said...

A program that I thought was going to be about the homeless, ended up being about so much more. Rev. Andrade's message was about every single person being made in the image of God no matter who they are, or their apparent lifestyle choice. She repeatedly said that every person "needs a seat at the table" to talk whether we agree with them or not.

On the first year of her three year assignment given to her by the United Methodist Church, She is only listing to the voiceless in order that she maybe a voice for them. I am stired to ask myself, Whom am I not hearing over the din of my own life, The chatter of others etc.. as a community we need to ask ourselves, how much richer would our conversations be if we chose to listen to the voices which we have ignored? The actionable thing to do is to listen to those we have never heard before. They may have much to teach us. The more we listen the more violence is prevented.

-Lindsay Walker, ACN Member