“What I have learned from all of the difficulties in my own life is that human beings have very thick skin. I call that skin our spirit, our Highest Most Powerful self. Spirit is the key to everything we desire. It is our weatherproofing, our Teflon, our line of credit that assures if we just keep putting one foot in front of the other, one day; there will be a miraculous payoff.”
You may know Iyanla Vanzant from her famous rags to riches story. Or her New York Times bestselling inspirational books. Or for being one of Ebony’s 100 most influential African Americans. Or from her Oprah Winfrey Network show, “Iyanla: Fix My Life.”
But you may not know where she spent her early days in media: At Philly’s own WURD, one of the few African American owned talk radio stations in the country. Vanzant was a host on the station when it first started. And on Saturday she’s coming back to town, as the keynote speaker for WURD’s 2nd Annual Empowerment Expo.
“Iyanla has a lot of connections with the city and the station, and it was a big coup for us to get her to come back here for this,” says WURD President & CEO Sara Lomax-Reese. “She’s a very powerful speaker and spiritual person.” Vanzant, who is re-releasing one of her earliest and most loved books, Acts of Faith, will sign copies after her speech.
But Vanzant is just one part of Saturday’s Expo, the rest of which is free and open to all. (Tickets for the keynote are $25, available here.) The event, from 11 am to 4 pm, also includes a local holiday marketplace, where Lomax-Reese says shoppers can “circulate their dollars consciously” by keeping their money in the community. It will have a wellness bazaar, for quick physical and mental health checkups; an exhibit from WURD’s six month violence project, with photos of people who have experienced violence, and their inspiration stories of moving on with life.
WURD, which will live broadcast the day’s events, will host two programs on site: A career and job readiness workshop will look at the needs of the current workforce, and the future of work in Philadelphia, for returning citizens, young people starting out or seasoned workers. And WURD host Eraka Rousorondu—also an acclaimed spiritual empowerment speaker—will share with the radio audience lessons learned from Vanzant’s speech.
Lomax-Reese says she expects between 500 and 700 people to Arch Street Meeting House Saturday, for a day of uplift—and also fun. There will be food trucks and a DJ, after all.
“This time of year can be so hectic and stressful and financially tough,” Lomax-Reese says. “We’re trying to address that all in one place. You can take care of your health, look forward to the future and also get fed spiritually with this talk.”
Saturday, December 1, 11 am-4 pm, free for the expo; $25 for the keynote, Arch Street Meeting House, 320 Arch Street.Flickr