Affirm the Word has been making headline news recently with all the excellent work they have been doing. One part of their work is helping small business owners, and one recent business that has been helped by Affirm the Word was New York’s Layla’s Dance & Drum.
New York’s Layla’s Dance & Drum is a dance studio that has become an important part of the local community. Like many small businesses, they have been struggling thanks to the COVID19 pandemic. Affirm the Word changed their fortunes by presenting them with a generous $1,500 microgrant.
This donation will help the dance studio stay afloat for the next few months, but they still need more. That is why Layla’s Dance & Drum has set up a crowdfunding campaign to raise $50,000.
Affirm the World has released a new book called The Spiritual Practice of Speaking & Living God’s Word. We decided to learn more about the good work Affirm the World is doing and their new book.
Here is what they had to say
For people who have never heard of Affirm the Word, can you explain what it is and what they do?
Affirm the Word was born out of a book I wrote, with the same title, during the summer of 2020. I had no intention of writing this book, but it came about in response to things happening in my life during the global pandemic. The company, Affirm The word was formed a few months after, once I began to see that people were really gravitating toward the book and that it was probably going to do more than just sit on my shelf. IO also needed a vehicle to help me consolidate my efforts to really share the importance of positive speaking, or speaking LIFE.
Can you explain when you first found religion? I’ve been “in the church” my entire life and accepted Christ when I was twelve-years-old. However, I don’t think I truly began the process of self-surrender until about three-years-ago.
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the world hard, how do you think religion is helping people in this troubled time? I don’t know about what “religion” is going, but I know that God is revealing Himself to people like never before because they have been forced to be still – which is when He is most visible- to us.
A lot of businesses and charitable organizations are struggling during the COVID19 pandemic. You have recently given Layla’s Dance & Drum in New York $1,500, that must have been an amazing feeling to be able to do that, how did they react when you gave them the cheque? It was a great feeling to give back period, although I wished we could have done more. They have a great program, which my daughter attends. It is one of the most affordable and diverse programs on long island, and I believe that they must remain a resource for families in that community.
Without that cheque the dance studio may have struggled to survive, why is there not more help out there from banks and other funding sources? The studio is still struggling but it is also surviving. It’s no secret that African-American businesses have a hard time securing loans, even on an everyday basis. History has shown that many discriminating factors pose this issue, and many black-owned business owners just get tired and give up at a certain point. The pandemic was no different, and it has been very difficult for them to secure funding. That is also what made this donation so crucial.
The dance studio still needs more help, if you could send a direct message to the Mayor of New York, what would you say? This business is located in Nassau County, so questions should be directed to the Town Supervisor, State Senators, or Governor. To whoever has any authority concerning funding for the arts, I would ask that a streamlined process be created for minority businesses, or small businesses in general, be created to help these organizations easily secure funding and continue serving families in their communities. Especially during a crisis.
You have set up a Go Fund Me campaign for Layla’s Dance & Drum. Why is it important that people back that campaign? Simply put, our donation was just a drop in the bucket. They need more financial resources if they are going to rebound and keep their doors open.
You help small female-owned businesses, why is it important for you to do that? We don’t just help female businesses. We also help individuals and other small organizations who have purchased the book and are using it to grow in their walk with God and continue to Affirm His word through adversity. We do this with Proverbs 27:17 as our motivation (Iron sharpens iron). As human beings, we get encouraged when we see good things happening for people, especially through hardship. We want people to be encouraged by knowing that they are not alone, that God is fighting for them, and that they will overcome if they keep speaking, trusting, and believing in God.
With 60% of small businesses closing for good thanks to the COVID19 pandemic, would you like to see the Government do more to help small business owners survive? I feel like the Government is offering a lot, but it does not help if everyone cannot easily get the help. They need to streamline the process for people who may not be administratively organized or prepared to navigate through a bureaucratic process.
Thanks to your help, the dance studio will be able to survive and provide an important service for children living in New York, would you like to see more people like you and Affirm the Word support small businesses around the world? Our contribution was only enough to help them operate for a few more months. We need other organizations and individuals who care to support us as well. Not just Layla’s Dance & Drum, but other small businesses that mean something to them personally. In Fact, Ms. Anayo, the school’s founder, had pledged to donate any proceeds raised above the goal to other dance schools also suffering financial hardship due to the pandemic. We’re all in this together.
You released a book called Affirm the World: The Spiritual Practice of Speaking & Living God’s Word, can you tell me more about the book? The book is comprised of 700+ topically indexed scriptures, prayers, and affirmations. It also includes reflections on certain topics and prayer journal pages. It was to help people memorize scripture and serve as a quick reference to find motivating and transformative scriptures needed to replace negative/self-defeating speaking. So many people have a habit of saying negative things, either to themselves or others, hundreds of times every day. They then manifest those things in their life and can’t understand why things never change. The book was written to help people focus on things they should be saying, despite what they feel or think. That’s why it’s called the “spiritual practice” because it takes work to change old patterns.
You are giving a percentage of book sales to help good causes, would you like to see celebrities follow you in this generous offer? I believe there are many celebrities already doing that. We would like to do more of that and at a greater percentage and believe that by god’s grace we will be able to do so.
With the pandemic affecting so many people around the world, do you think more people will turn to religion? There are so many different ways people come to know god. I just pray that whatever way they come, they do so with a heart that is truly humbled and willing to surrender to His perfect plan for their life. God does the rest.
And my last question, what would you say to someone who does not have God in his or her heart and has not turned to religion? I always encourage people to ask God to reveal himself to them. I try to focus on that alone because the bible teaches that no man comes to God unless He draws them. No amount of pushing or shaming from my end will make someone come to God. So I encourage them to do that first, and if they come back and say they’ve chosen to follow Him, I lead them, in a pray to freely accept Christ into their heart. Once again, God does the rest.
Affirm the World: The Spiritual Practice of Speaking & Living God’s Word can be purchased on Amazon in Kindle and paperback formats. Donations can be made to Layla’s Dance & Drum at the official GoFundMe page. For more information on Affirm the World, please visit the organization’s official website.
Organization: Affirm the World
Announcement: Microgrant to Layla’s Dance and Drum
Contact: J. Marie Jones