Since 2010, World Relief and Kilns College have collaborated to host The Justice Conference, an annual event designed to mobilize a new generation in the fight for social justice, compelling us to live a life focused, not on loving ourselves, but on loving the vulnerable and oppressed. Nomi Network’s Co-Founder and President, Diana Mao, and Legal Counsel and VP of Sales, Lisa Kim both attended this year’s conference. I caught up with Lisa to hear about her experience, and to learn more about Nomi’s exciting new collaboration!
NN: Can you tell me a little bit about the Justice Conference, and what they set out to accomplish?
LK: Founder Ken Wytsma was motivated to start The Justice Conference based on what he refers to as a “theology of justice.” That is, knowing and understanding God’s love should in turn move us to love others and engage in justice. With hundreds of social justice organizations represented, internationally recognized speakers and a multitude of workshops, the conference dealt with such harrowing global realities as human trafficking, slavery, poverty and HIV/AIDS.
NN: What were some of the major themes from this year’s conference?
LK: This year, we were reminded that justice is not simply a theory, but that it is deeply personal for those that are victimized. Also, applying justice in this day and age can be innovative, and can create sustainable social change. This was seen through the talk given by social innovation leader at Twiitter, Claire Diaz-Ortiz, where she discussed how Twitter can not only help communicate, but engage. The most poignant part of this discussion was that you don’t need a million followers to create impact, but a few steady following can create much impact.
NN: What was your favorite quote from the event, and why?
LK: My favorite quote was from speaker Gary Haugen: Learning about a love that conquers fear…and monotony, a love that is tedious. A love our Maker sees and honors.
Gary Haugen not only touched upon the sensational part of justice work- the work that is about danger, and raids and rescue, but also touched upon the perseverance and love through the every day monotony of fighting for justice. Love that conquers fear can place oneself in danger or even allow a person to give up their life for another. Yet, the love that impacts lasting change is a love that is shown in the monotony.
NN: How does Nomi Network live out these types of love?
LK: We at Nomi Network have experienced both types of love. A love that conquers fear, as we are located near the red light districts in India, and are often threatened by angry spouses and abusers who do not want their wives or the women in their community to participate in our programs. Yet in Bihar, India, a rural, desolate state, it is in the mundane opportunities, where time literally seems to stand still, communication gets lost in translation, and the women have such vast needs, that we are making a difference. We have seen the women pool together their earnings - many who received wages and opened a savings account for the first time in their lives - to hire a tutor for their children. We know that we are helping to create a ripple of change across generational lines, and hope that we can empower women and the future generations by breaking the cycles of poverty by providing viable opportunities.
NN: So, what did you personally take away from the conference?
LK: As Gary Haugen noted, there is a movement going on. I was so encouraged to see people of all ages come together to learn more about global injustices and how we can engage each other, our networks and the world in making a positive impact. I also loved seeing our partners Justice Ventures International and Freeset and how we are coming together to create a holistic approach in empowering communities in India.
- Kathryn Yuen