The Veterans of Hope Project is a community-based, educational initiative on religion, culture and participatory democracy. We gather and share wisdom from elder activists about the role of spirituality and creativity in their work for racial, gender, economic and environmental justice.
Through a video interview archive with older peace and justice activists; accompanying lesson plans; a community conversation series; and a variety of programs to support wellness and healing for activists and their communities, the Project emphasizes grassroots resources for social change from the collective knowledge of marginalized communities.
The Veterans of Hope Project was founded in 1997 by Vincent and Rosemarie Freeney Harding, longtime activists, counselors and teachers of spiritually based social activism. The Hardings began their work in the Mennonite Church in Chicago, Illinois in the late 1950s and moved to Atlanta, Georgia in 1960 to join with Martin Luther King, Jr. and others as reconcilers and nonviolence trainers in the Southern Freedom Movement. In ensuing years, Rosemarie and Vincent served as scholars, advisors and encouragers for a wide variety of movements, organizations and individuals working for compassionate social change in the United States and internationally.
Our current work is led by Rachel Elizabeth Harding and Gloria Smith (daughter and niece of the founders). Rachel is a historian, artist and writer; Gloria is an educator and community organizer – both worked for over twenty years with Vincent and Rose and are proud to join a wide network of colleagues, friends and family to help nurture the ongoing, community-building work of the VOHP and the Freeney-Harding family.
We are an independent, 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization affiliated with the Iliff School of Theology.
…It is precisely in a period of great spiritual and societal hunger like our own that we most need to open minds, hearts, and memories to those times when women and men actually dreamed of new possibilities for our nation, for our world, and for their own lives. It is now that we may be able to convey the stunning idea that dreams, imagination, vision, and hope are actually powerful mechanisms in the creation of new realities—especially when the dreams go beyond speeches and songs to become embodied; to take on flesh, in real, hard places.
— Dr. Vincent Harding, from Is America possible?