An Interview with Jo Saxton

Jo Saxton 2

Interview with Jo Saxton

 

Today, I have a special treat for you. I’m doing an interview with Jo Saxton, a leader I’m honored to know. You might recall that I posted a review of her new book, “The Dream of You” recently on the blog. Now I’m digging into some of the questions I had while reading it. I pray this will encourage you.  

 

Natasha: Jo, you have quite an interesting story. You speak all over the country and have become known as the “Nigerian Brit,” can you share a little bit about that story, and how your name changed from Modupe to Jo?

 

I call myself a Nigerian Brit because both play a fundamental role in my identity. I’m a Yoruba Nigerian, and my parents moved to England in the 1960’s. Many of my formative years were spent growing up among a wide Nigerian community in London. Nigerian food, Nigerian sounds, Nigerian cultural practices. That was my norm.

 

Nonetheless, London is my hometown; and it’s a diverse and cosmopolitan city. Its where I grew up, made friends, had crushes on local boys; I walked its streets and loved it. I feel such a visceral connection to London because its shaped me too. Still the London I grew up in is eclectic, much more so than the pictures of England captured in shows like Downton Abbey or The Crown.

 

My London includes Buckingham palace with the royal family, and Big Ben and tourist attractions, but it’s also Brixton market with its Ankara materials and meats and fruit. My London is fish and chips, and chicken tikka masala and jolloff rice. Its hanging out at the local pub and the local hair salon, knowing they house two different cultural worlds. Its reading Shakespeare, Ben Okri and Zadie Smith. Its Wham & Shalamar, soul music and Seal, as my elders dance to Sunny Ade again. All of that is the London I called my home.

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The Justice Chronicles: What One Person & Young People Can Do

Everyone, please welcome Kenny Sipes to the blog!

As, I pondered Natasha’s gracious request to write a post for her blog, I was reminded that I am not an expertise in any one area of justice. My heart just reflects my passion to participate in as much redemption as possible with this gift of life I have.

The greatest teacher in my life is experience.  That’s what I have to offer today.

How to lead people into justice.

Honestly, my heart for justice was stirred when I saw this video.  Global Night Commute.  I was never the same. Soon after, I went on a mission trip to the country of Lesotho. The drive from Johannesburg to the mountains of Lesotho gave us a firsthand tour of poverty. You couldn’t not see it and you couldn’t unsee it. With no education, witchdoctors controlling with fear tactics, and no legal system for these remote villagers in the mountains, the future was bleak.  My heart for Africa was solidified with these hard truths.

As a youth pastor at the time, I wanted to help our students see that justice is needed outside of our bubbles of suburbia. And God drove me to make that happen. I took twelve teenagers on that Lesotho trip.  I led two construction trips and 100 people to East St. Louis; which at the time was most impoverished city in America. Having emotion over situations is one thing, but I knew unless we participated in trying to fix it, the emotion would fade and the memory of the injustice we were fighting would leave. So, I sought to lead our students to make an impact by way of their actions and their words.

As I type this, I think of those Lesotho trip kids (who are now adults pursuing justice in the world). One of them works in the Ohio Statehouse with a heart to fight sex trafficking.  Another was scared to death on that trip, but has since returned to Africa several times mentoring young African children. Now she gets to watch them become thriving teenagers and adults in their communities. My daughter was nationally recognized for leading her fraternity to establish a music entity in an inner city school that didn’t have one.  Another young lady left elite suburbia and took her education to be a teacher in inner city Chicago. Honestly, I could write a story on each one of those kids. They are now all adults making this a safer and more just world. 

We need to lead others into the story of justice.

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