Enjoy this short interview between our Chief Network Weaver Julia Roig and our new Director of Applied Research Jarvis Williams as he describes his excitement and motivation about joining the Horizons’ team.
Julia: Hi everyone, Julia Roig, the Chief Network Weaver at the Horizons Project, celebrating on this hot summer day, that we have a new team member who has joined us at Horizons, Jarvis Williams.
We just wanted to have a chance for you to be able to say hi to everybody because of course, since we’re so into working within a broad ecosystem of a lot of different partners, we wanted to give you a chance to tell us something about yourself.
Jarvis: Well, first of all, thank you. It’s so exciting to be with the team. I enjoyed the interview process, I think I told a friend of mine I held you captive for several hours when we were supposed to be talking for a short amount of time, but it’s just great conversations.
But I think that probably explains part of who I am. I really enjoy trying to be in community with people.
I think three things that would probably define who I am now is that I’m highly sensitive to the power of relationships to change people’s lives and that’s important to me.
It started growing up in a small community in Mississippi and watching my father be in relationship with patients, watching people in the church be in relationship. So I care about that and my work culture matters to the extent that I’m in relationship with great people.
I guess the other two things that really matter to me that I guess define who I am is that I have attempted to try to be attendant to what people believe.
Why their beliefs matter to them, not simply just to change their beliefs, but to appreciate how they have come to see the world the way they do.
And then I’ve really committed myself to trying to be a part of helping us to get better information about what we believe so we can actually act better. And that’s where scholarship and academia comes into play, trying to learn about the world we live in, in a reliable way.
Julia: Yeah, that’s great. And, you know, I failed to even describe the fact that you’re taking on the role of the Director of Applied Research.
So I’m really glad that you mentioned the power of, academic rigor and your experience with research. And so I’m really curious for you to share what you’re the most excited about with regards to this job, and the Horizons mission and what you’re going to be doing in this role?
Jarvis: Oh, absolutely. I think for me, the wording that really just fascinated me was this idea of connective tissue. What do we need to know to help us connect better? Or what beliefs do we have that may be prohibiting us from connecting? And so I know that to confront the moment I think we find ourselves in with all kinds of threats, we don’t have to just connect, but we have to have a certain depth to those connections. And in order to explain some of that, it requires… interrogation to those deep beliefs that complicate how we act. And so in Horizons Project, religion, the role of Christianity in democracy, I think it’s a deep conversation that we need to think about.
The challenge of race, I think those are deep conversations. There are moments where you have to try to have a polite conversation to move on, but to build great relationships, there needs to be great understanding. And sometimes it takes a kind of depth of understanding to get there.
And then this mystery we call democracy. What beliefs are essential to be able to hold on to what we have and what beliefs have complicated it? So Horizons gives me an opportunity to, think about not just, what we know about those beliefs, but how people are actually living out those beliefs currently, and to be in relationship with them and to push and to probe and to learn and I think I’m excited about being in a space where we’re not trying to pretend we don’t disagree, but we are curious how we can believe better about each other.
Julia: Yeah, that’s beautifully put, and folks are going to very quickly realize, why you were the right choice to join our team and all this “connective tissue-ing” that we’re trying to do.
So Jarvis, just to end, you are going to interact with a lot of different folks, it’s the joy of this work of being ecosystem organizers.
So for those partners or those collaborators who are going to have the opportunity to work with you, what would be something that you’d want them to know about you as you’re getting started?
Jarvis: Yeah, I think two things for me. One, I will absolutely listen to them. I will care to hear and to see the world through their eyes. And I think that is connected to the other thing, that they will absolutely be respected. And for me, if you know that you will be heard and that you will be treated with respect, I think that’s what I would want to offer.
And in the words of John Lewis, whatever good trouble we get into, we’ll be fine. As long as we respect each other and listen.
Julia: Well, wise words to end on. And you know, Jarvis, we really are just thrilled on behalf of Maria and Tabitha and Nilanka and the whole team, just we want to give you a big warm welcome .
We’ll look forward to a lot of good trouble coming next.
Well, I so appreciate it. And I’m so happy to be a part of this team.
Julia: Thanks Jarvis.