Our sister in Christ and frequent Pass the Mic guest, Michelle Higgins, spoke in front of 16,000 students at Urbana 2015. The Urbana conference has been going on for over two decades and is dedicated to mobilizing young people for missions. Hosted by Intervarsity, the event brings together thousands of students from all different Christian backgrounds. It is not distinctly Reformed in its theology, but several of their speakers, including David Platt and Francis Chan, will be recognizable to many of our readers.

Michelle Higgins, Director of Faith for Justice and Director of Worship and Outreach at her church, spoke at the evening session on December 28, 2015. In her talk, she discusses the importance of knowing the history of the United States and how it has treated all kinds of people. She moves beyond the typical black/white divide to discuss the interment of Japanese people during World War II, the displacement of indigenous peoples, and class discrimination as well as race-based injustice. She also spoke in support of the Black Lives Matter movement as a mission to promote human dignity towards people of African descent. Below are a few of her quotes as well as links to two videos.

Quotes from Michelle:

What happens when we avoid parts of our story [is] we forget our story, we try to change our story, and brothers and sisters, we end up believing a lie.

The evangelical church in North America is convinced that happiness is quiet…and is perpetuating ‘white is right.’

You don’t get to decide what human dignity is, or who gets it, or who gets access to it.

Black lives matter demands that I know myself and that I see you.

Indifference is an absence of activism .

In order to proselytize, civilize, or evangelize you have to love the people who are currently not worshiping the God who wrote their own story.

We must rehearse the justice of equality right here on this shore before we export racism, before we export a classism that is not easily repaired.

We have all of the techniques, all of the people that we need to eliminate both racial and class based injustice on this continent. We have all we need, except the will to do it.

We must commit to truth-telling about our own histories so that we can change a faulty narrative. I laid my burdens down. I don’t have to be the angry black woman or the perfect mother.


Video Links:

The Story of God in Culture and Song: Ferguson – Urbana 15

A video about Michelle’s pursuit of justice in Ferguson, just a few miles from her church in St. Louis.

Michelle Higgins – Urbana 15

Michell’s talk at Urbana 2015


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