(Indianapolis) Roving Listener
Making the invisible visible
In Ralph Ellison’s novel, The Invisible Man, a man discovers his true self and how to others he’s invisible. People judge him because of where he lives. They see everything but him; he’s a figment of their imagination. His invisibility isn’t the problem; it was the construction of their eyes. In marginalized places, peoples gifts are invisible. What if we bothered to take a deeper look. What if we took the time to visit, connect, identify and celebrate those gifts and share the rich lived experience of those we pretend not to see! We may see our own greatness through their reflection.
At Broadway United Methodist Church in Indianapolis, DeAmon Harges is the original “Roving Listener.” By listening, he discovers the gifts, passions, and dreams of citizens in his neighborhood, using them to build community, economy, and mutual delight.
DeAmon’s work is based in the Asset-Based Community Development Institute (ABCD), joining neighbors and institutions to discover the power of being a good neighbor. His organization Tesserae Learning Community brings those ideas and others to the forefront of community and organizational life.
As an artist, DeAmon uses his art for social change and community building. He characterizes his work as “deep listening” and “positive deviance” — a big difference from typical models of neighborhood organizing.