Ashland University Religion Department to Host Musician and Activist Michelle Higgins

Ashland University Religion Department to Host Musician and Activist Michelle Higgins

4/12/16 ASHLAND, Ohio – Ashland University’s Religion Department is hosting musician and activist Michelle Higgins on April 20 and 21 and she will have a full schedule of preaching, teaching and conducting workshops with Ashland students as well as events that are open to the public.

“It is exciting for us to have Michelle Higgins coming to campus,” said Dr. Peter Slade, chair of the Religion Department. “Here at Ashland University, we are always trying to make connections between our faith and the communities we live in and serve. Michelle will bring her wealth of experience and wisdom and help us understand the responsibilities and opportunities we have as Christians to engage with these issues of justice and race.”

Higgins will be speaking in Dr. Slade's class titled Religion and the Civil Rights Movement. “It is important for us to realize that the movement didn't stop with the passage of the Civil Rights Act or the assassination of Dr. King,” Slade said. “This is a living history that calls people of faith to action today.”

Higgins will be conducting four events on campus that will be free and open to the public and students.

On Wednesday, April 20, from 12 noon to 1:30 p.m., Higgins will conduct a workshop titled “Nonviolent de-escalation in the midst of crisis” in the Eagles’ Landing inside the Hawkins-Conard Student Center.

On April 20 from 7 to 8:30 p.m., Higgins will present a public lecture titled “‘Last’ Lecture: Your Faith for Justice.” The event will be held in the Ridenour Room inside the Dauch College of Business and Economics.

On Thursday, April 21, from 10:50 a.m. to 12:05 p.m., Higgins will provide a public lecture titled “Conversation: The New Civil Rights Movement After Ferguson” in the Ronk Lecture Hall inside the Schar College of Education.

On April 21 from 8 to 9:30 p.m., Higgins will provide a sermon titled “Praying with your Feet,” at The Well worship service in the Jack and Deb Miller Chapel on campus.

The Director of Worship and Outreach at South City Church in the Shaw neighborhood of south St. Louis, Higgins is actively engaged in the #BlackLivesMatter movement. She has participated in civil disobedience, leadership development, logistics and administrative support in both sacred and secular spaces.

Higgins also serves as director of Faith for Justice, a Christian advocacy group founded in 2014 dedicated to continuing the biblical story of activism. Faith for Justice promotes and leads public justice actions and events that connect faith communities to the movements that seek to dignify and humanize Black lives.

Though working primarily as a local organizer, Higgin’s work is challenging the wider church. She rose to national prominence with her plenary speech at Urbana 2015, the annual InterVarsity Student Missions Conference. The New York Times commented “in her wide-ranging comments about social justice, Ms. Higgins did little to make her speech more palatable.” The Washington Post  concurred, “Michelle Higgins has been making waves.” The Evangelical publication Christianity Today “described her historic speech as "powerful and prophetic testimony.”

Higgins holds an M.Div. from Covenant Theological Seminary in Saint Louis and lives in North City with her husband, Sean Loftin, and their two children, Moses and Matilda.

Ashland University, ranked in the top 200 colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category for 2016, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University ( values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.                                                                                ###