Dr. Beverly Tatum Gives Moving Message on Collaboration, Contribution and Building the “Beloved Community”

President Emerita of Spelman College and Westside Future Fund board member, Dr. Beverly Tatum, recently offered a powerful message to the members of downtown Atlanta’s First Congregational Church.

In her speech, titled “What does God want from us?,” Dr. Tatum shares the answers she found through her journey of self-reflection on her life’s purpose, measuring against four important “Ts” – time, talent, treasure and teamwork.

In her remarks, Dr. Tatum provides a message that many can relate to, especially in connection to our work on the Westside.

For instance, during her fourth and final “T” – teamwork – she touches upon the idea of the Beloved Community and the importance of “collective effort,” even making reference to her days as president of Spelman College. Read an excerpt from her speech below.

I learned that the 4th T is TEAMWORK! Nothing great is accomplished alone. Teamwork makes the dream work!

To build God’s kingdom on Earth – the Beloved Community – requires our COLLECTIVE EFFORT.

I learned this lesson later than the first three. It was made plain to me at Spelman. A college is not the same as a church, but it has some things in common. There is a leader, the president is at the head (like the pastor is the head of a church) – and there are long-time members.

In the case of the College, it’s the alumnae – and the college, like the church, is dependent on its members’ support through consistent giving of thoughtful and meaningful gifts, reflecting gratitude for what has been given to them. In one case, it is the life-changing education received at the college; in the other case, it is the many blessings received from God. The mission of a college is like the mission of a church in that it is about helping others – and it can’t be accomplished without resources.

Yet sometimes people withhold their resources – maybe someone at the College did something they didn’t like, or they had an unpleasant experience at the Church, or maybe they just hadn’t been asked. There is no perfect college, and there is no perfect church. We can encourage each other toward continuous improvement, but the irony is, you usually can’t improve without the resources to do it. So, speaking of the College, it was clear to me that we had to have everyone’s participation to achieve our mission with the excellence our students and our community deserve.

NO ONE on the team could be sitting on the sidelines if we were going to achieve success.

We thank Dr. Tatum for this beautiful and timely message.

Curious to hear more? Watch the full video of Dr. Tatum’s speech below. Click here to read the speech in its entirety.