George Floyd Jubilee

14 10 2020

Since 2016, I have had the pleasure of getting to know Dr. Virgil Wood, a church leader, educator, and civil rights activist who has committed much of his life’s work to the struggle for economic and spiritual development among the nation’s disadvantaged.

Our work together led to the creation of the Beloved Community Initiative (BCI), which established an essay contest and hosted the MLK Jubilee Summit in 2018. In that same year, Dr. Wood was invited to give the Virginia Tech Graduate School Commencement speech (see below). The BCI has also produced a series of documentary-grade videos that capture the life and work of Dr. Wood and his colleague Dr. Owen Cardwell.

Dr. Virgil Wood’s speech runs from 1:10 to 1:18

With the pandemic uprooting all of our lives, a number of BCI initiatives – such as the 2020 essay contest – were put on hold this year. However, Dr. Wood and I continued to engage in far reaching conversations about the need for transformative change at local to national level.

Earlier this month, I asked Dr. Wood if I could start recording our conversations and condense them into shorter themed videos to share more broadly. He agreed, and we created a new “In conversation” series that will be posted on the BCI’s YouTube channel. In this new series, Dr. Wood will provide his perspectives on a broad range of issues relating to the Beloved Community and Beloved Economy.

Today – October 14, 2020 – would have been George Floyd’s 47th birthday. In the first video below, Dr. Wood reflects on Mr. Floyd’s life and looks ahead to the George Floyd Jubilee, when he would have been 50 years old.

In the second video below, Dr. Wood talks about his experience marching with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the 1960s and connects this experience with the current Black Lives Matter movement.

The Rev. Gilbert H. Caldwell (right) stands with the Revs. Martin Luther King Jr. (left) and Virgil Wood on the roof of a Boston public school in 1965. Photo courtesy of the Rev. Gilbert H. Caldwell.

In the third video below, Dr. Wood discusses the relationship between Martin Luther King Sr. and George Wallace and what this means for the Beloved Community.

If there are specific issues that you would like to hear Dr. Wood talk about, please contact me and I will include them in our future conversations.





Beloved Community Initiative Event, November 27

6 11 2018

The School of Public and International Affairs, in partnership with the Center for Humanities, and Virginia Union University, present The Beloved Community Initiative Event that will be coinciding with the Advancing the Human Condition Symposium on November 27.

The Beloved Community Initiative is a partnership between VT and Virginia Union University to explore and advance Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s conception of the Beloved Community in the 21st century. In 2017, the VT-VUU partnership launched the inaugural Beloved Community Initiative Essay Contest. The essay contest invited junior and senior high school students to choose one set of historical figures and prepare an exploration of those two (or three) persons, focusing on how the legacy of their life’s journey came together to advance the Beloved Community.

On November 27, 2018, The VT-VUU Beloved Community Initiative will celebrate the essay contest winners. The event will feature two panels on:
  1. the history of the Civil Rights movement through the lens of the winning essays; and
  2. understanding contemporary forms of structural inequality implications for creating systems of economic and social justice, paradigmatically captured in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision for a “Beloved Community.”

The event will take place in Assembly Hall in Holtzman Alumni Center on November 27, from 1:30- 5pm. No registration is required and the event is open to the public.

The following panelists will be speaking during the event: