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Dr. Mobley, JCSU students produce docuseries on the COVID-19 pandemic

Iyanla Parsanlal ‘23
Photo credit: Iyanla Parsanlal ‘23
Iyanla Parsanlal ‘23
Charlotte, N.C. / March 23, 2021 – Dr. Kendal Mobley, associate professor of Religion, and a group of students at Johnson C. Smith University are producing a video project highlighting religion and the local impact of COVID-19. The series is entitled “Crisis and Compassion” and shows how diverse religious communities in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg region of North Carolina are responding to the pandemic by working with local service providers, local government, and other faith communities to meet needs.

Crisis and Compassion is part of a larger project called Bridge Builders Charlotte. Led by Queens University's Belk Chapel and funded by Interfaith Youth Core and the Gambrell Foundation, campus teams from Johnson C. Smith University, Central Piedmont Community College, Davidson College, University of North Carolina Charlotte, Queens University, and Wingate University are strengthening local efforts to help the Charlotte community recover from and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Leading the Crisis and Compassion project has been exciting and rewarding,” said Mobley, who also serves as coordinator of the Spiritual Life Center. “I’ve been honored to bear witness to the courage and devotion of people and organizations from diverse religious perspectives, and to offer them the chance to tell their own stories. In a very dark time, they offer an example that is enlightening, empowering, and hopeful. They show us the virtues and values that will carry us through this crisis: compassion, respect for human dignity, sacrificial love, humility, unity, and cooperation.”

Mobley’s team includes JCSU students Exodus Moon ’21 and Iyanla Parsanlal ‘23, along with LeDayne McLeese Polaski, executive director of Mecklenburg Metropolitan Interfaith Network (MeckMIN).

Students worked as interns and conducted several virtual interviews for the project.

“I learned the true hearts of people and faith servants. No matter the religious deity served or preference, the work, heart and passion held by everyone I worked with and interviewed was truly inspiring and hopeful,” Parsanlal said. 

Exodus Moon ’21
Source: Exodus Moon
Exodus Moon ’21
Moon, a communication arts major with aspirations of working in television and film, worked as a videographer and reporter for the documentary. He said the internship was instrumental in helping him step out of his comfort zone and prepare for his career.

“This internship allowed me to put all those practices learned in the classroom in place and gain firsthand experience,” said Moon. “I’m naturally shy so it was challenging in the beginning just getting comfortable talking to people, but my shyness subdued over time.”

Parsanlal also gained confidence in her communication skills while conducting interviews for the documentary. “I have felt more at easing speaking in my authentic speaking voice and embracing my roots from Trinidad and Tobago, yet remaining professional,” she said.

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