We understand who we are through story. The stories we have internalized and claimed, consciously or unconsciously, influence our daily decisions and our larger choices, and the power of the right idea, the right poem, or the right song at the right moment is hard to overstate. They can put corners on our life trajectories – a change to our understanding can send our lives in an entirely different direction.
David LaMotte has connected with college students at campuses across the country, giving lectures and concerts, leading workshops, and spending time in classrooms, hallways, and cafeterias in informal conversation. Some of those interactions have had profound effects on the students that showed up.
David LaMotte is the real deal, someone who truly can change the thoughts, lives, and futures of students, faculty, and staff on our college and university campuses across the nation. Two years after his convocation here, I still hear students talking about his presentation and how relevant it was to their lives.
— Mindy Maddux, Asst. Dean, Drury University, Springfield, MO
LaMotte is a concert artist, with 13 albums and 3000+ concerts on five continents to his credit. He is also an author and lecturer, with speaking events including the Scottish Parliament, the PC(USA) Mission to the United Nations, and colleges and conferences in India, Germany, Australia, and across the United States. A semester course on his most recent book, You Are Changing the World Whether You Like It Or Not, will be taught at Westminster College in New Wilmington, PA in 2004. He holds a master’s degree in International Studies, Peace and Conflict Resolution from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, where he attended as a Rotary Peace Fellow. He is also the former Clerk of the AFSC Nobel Peace Prize Nominating Committee.
His most recent book looks at the downside of Hero Narratives — when one person’s dramatic action in a moment of crisis is held up as the key to large social change, neglecting the centrality of movements — many people making small efforts in the same direction. Hero stories, though intended to inspire, can often have the opposite effect, leading us to outsource work for change to the heroes, because we can’t imagine ourselves doing what they do.
Among other historical examples and stories from his own experience, David takes a deep dive on Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott. He challenges the traditional story, which seems to paint her life as one day long, setting aside her decades of active engagement with Civil Rights issues. David teaches about the Women’s Political Council, who organized the boycott over a year in advance, and others who made the boycott the resounding success that it was, through years of dedicated and undramatic work. Through these stories, he offers the hopeful perspective that movements make large-scale change, rather than heroes, and that all of us can bring our gifts to movement work. It turns out that small efforts really do matter, and that there is no example in all of history of a hero effecting large-scale change in the absence of a movement, though it is often how we tell the story. His message is both hopeful and historical, and leaves students with a better understanding of how to have meaningful positive impact on the world around them, and how to discern what is theirs to do, and what is not.
LaMotte’s professional experience and life experience allow him to intersect meaningfully with many sectors of campus life, visiting classes in subjects from Poetry to Political Science, from Social Justice to Small Business, and from Marketing to Music. A practicing Quaker, he also often connects with campus chaplaincy programs, with a specialty in interfaith settings. He loves small group conversations, and can keep a large auditorium full of students engaged.
David LaMotte is a very good partner in this important work both for our world and for the human soul.
— Richard Rohr, Center for Action and Contemplation
LaMotte also does workshops with college faculty and staff, helping them frame their own work and consider how change happens and how it doesn’t. In addition to his primary subject matter, David can speak to a number of other topics. If you would like to discuss possibilities, please feel free to get in touch.