Emerging Leader Initiates Dialogue and Healing Through Feature Documentary
“No one knows how it feels to walk in my shoes.” Those words struck a chord with Gloria Craig during a conversation with a resident of Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry’s (LMM) “The Men’s Shelter at 2100” who was facing barriers as he was trying to re-enter after incarceration.
After prayerful consideration, Craig wanted to tell his story and put a face to a name while exploring the plight of those facing homelessness in Cleveland, Ohio, through a short film. As a sociology major from Wittenburg University, Craig has little experience with filmmaking. However, she relies on her belief that God led her to exactly where she needs to be.
“Faith brought me here to produce this documentary, which will feature conversations with people who have or are currently experiencing homelessness, how they became homeless, and their struggles to get out. My hope is to empower those who share their stories, tear down misconceptions, and cause people to think about what needs to take place to create stability, stay housed, and begin to walk in their purpose,” explained Craig, who serves as community engagement coordinator for LMM.
To fund her “A Walk in My Shoes: A Documentary Project,” Craig wanted to partner with a like-minded organization and she knew We Raise’s vision of freeing people from poverty, violence, and inequality aligned with her own goals. “I appreciate that We Raise grants highlight young people in a different way and provide opportunities to reach people that couldn’t be reached before.”
In early 2023, We Raise awarded the 26-year-old with a $15,000 Emerging Leader grant to fund the creation and distribution of the documentary, which includes hiring a local documentary company to record and edit the film. Once completed, LMM plans to host watch parties, hold screenings for partner agencies, and submit the documentary to local film festivals.
As she began to research and piece together initial elements of a documentary, Craig felt a nudge to also share her own story.
“There were pockets in my childhood life when I experienced homelessness. I wanted to interview my mom. By telling the truth of our story, I hope to inspire others,” said Craig. “From personal experience, I know there’s a difference between living and thriving–and just surviving. There are so many different aspects of homelessness. By bringing these stories to light, I hope to bring some healing and take away the shame.”
Craig, who earned a master’s in social work from Case Western Reserve University, says healing is an imperative piece to uplift and empower communities. So, she’s grateful that We Raise donors have made it possible for her to answer God’s calling.
“Their financial gifts are utilized for things that matter and make a difference in our communities.”
The generosity and faithful giving of We Raise donors is making a difference in Cleveland by empowering emerging leaders like Gloria Craig to tackle systemic barriers and offer healing while initiating dialogue through her documentary.