"This book, these people-these lives-come together to form a loving tribute to all of us in search of deeper meaning, deeper connection, and a deeper sense of wonder. If you read it closely, it will change you."
"Soul Consciousness is a book that will remind you, in this era of political fecklessness and amorality, where our most potent power as a people truly resides."
-Sam Chaltain, Author, "Our School," Washington DC
"Real leadership is transformational In Soul Consciousness, Vick tells the story of transformational leaders who have learned how to bridge their own soul journeys with the sacred work of empowering others. He shows why we must all be connected to an energy greater than ourselves, and how that energy can help to fuel the brighter world so many of us seek. This book holds the keys to a deeper, more inclusive, and more vibrant world."
-Ryan Lugalia-Hollon, Author, The War on Neighborhoods
"This remarkable book offers a blueprint for harnessing the power of community members to enact community change. While many residents, young and old, bend under the weight of deep-seated structural problems, Stephen Vick argues that the answers lie within. Through stories and interviews this book inspires as much as it instructs. A treatise on community empowerment, Soul Consciousness should be required reading for youth workers, community organizers, policy makers, elected officials, and anyone who cares about families and communities."
-Roberto G. Gonzales, Professor of Education, Harvard University and author of Lives in Limbo: Undocumented and Coming of Age in America.
About the Author
Stephen M. Vick has worked for over twenty-five years as an educator, social worker, clinician, and administrator in the City of Chicago and larger Chicago metropolitan area. He has partnered with the Chicago public schools, various nonprofits, and other community organizations utilizing his bilingual skills, specifically as an advocate within the Latino community. Stephen founded and has directed a Chicago-based consulting company for over fifteen years, working in organizational development, leadership management, and implementation of diversity and inclusion initiatives. Stephen received his BA in political science and African American studies from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1992 and his MA in June 1999 from the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. He focused on organizational development, nonprofit administration, and community capacity building. Most recently, Stephen has focused much of his work on community advocacy, adolescent mentoring initiatives, residential program design, parent engagement, and innovative approaches toward youth and family empowerment in early childhood education. He taught as an adjunct professor at the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration and is currently in the role of executive director of the Infant Welfare Society of Evanston, which is focused on early childhood education, parent and family support, as well as community collaboration and systems change impacting educational equity. In addition to his social work background and community empowerment efforts, Stephen has also been studying traditional Chinese martial arts and qigong meditation for over twenty-five years. He holds his fifth Dan or title of Sifu and continues to teach children and adults. He recently opened a Taoist martial arts school and spiritual training center in the Evanston community. Stephen resides on the West Side of Chicago with his wife, Marlene, and their three children, Camila, Alex, and Olivia. The issues of community development, poverty, violence, and growing inequality are not only issues in the United States but also around the globe. Certainly, in the American experience, we have seen tremendous awareness and concern about issues that have dominated our political, cultural, and economic discourse. A discussion that engages these issues is needed now more than ever, as there is not only an economic and political crisis but a cultural and spiritual crisis as well. There is increasing interest in this topic, as it is more and more evident that there has been a deep disconnect of communities on racial, ethnic, and economic lines. Through the lens of nine stories of community change agents from around the United States, the reader will be drawn in to a compelling case for why our spiritual connectivity and deeper soul consciousness must play a role in our change efforts. In fact, this deeper consciousness is inextricably linked to our future success and growth as individuals and communities.