Monroe native Marie Brown believes it’s time to hear the drum beat again! She feels we are no longer ‘tuned in with the Earth anymore’. She says, “everything everything has changed, music specifically and we are all out of tune.”
Marie has started a group called Umoja, which is Swahili for Unity. Her organization, United Minds for Joint Action, is for anyone who has ideas to strengthen the community through community outreach.
“A lot of times people have ideas but don’t know how to start or keep helping after one event. We all have gifts and are passionate about things that we want to do. We want to help but sometimes lack the direction we need to cultivate our ideas,” she said. “This group has been formed with this in mind.”
Mrs. Brown grew up in the fifties in a large family. She grew up sharing among her nine siblings and friends. Her passion has been instilled in her since her childhood. She didn’t have much and knew many others who grew up in similar condidtions. She learned in her family and at church that you share everything that you have.
A major event in her life motviates her to stay involved in her children’s lives, their friends, and even through foster parenting. She started Umoja because whenever someone has a need, there must be a way. “Someone has to say… let’s help with that need.”
She is preparing for a youth event which will be held in Magnolia Park in collaboration with Luden Church They will be praying with the youth and offering a parenting workshop.
Marie feels music is a tool which can bridge people together when used correctly. UMOJA will begin it’s first African drum class at Barkdull Faulk Elementary from 10 am to 3p.m. on September 9th. Herb Green, an artist from Lafayette, Louisiana, will be conducting the clinic with a hands on drumming and percussion session. They are asking for sponsors to assist with the costs as they would love to have every child have a hands on experience with their own drum.
This clinic will be available to all children from 2nd graders up to 12th graders. The goal is for all children from all over to connect with one another in their communities through music. The clinic will be held once a month at every school that will have Umoja. This includes a mentoring program as well. To donate or to be a sponsor feel free to send your support to C.H.R.I.S.T Association, 1002 S. 5th St, Monroe, Louisiana 71202. Call 318-381-0028 for more details.