Growing a Global Heart 

“Healing the wounds of the past-
             In the present –while creating a sustainable future”

Belvie Rooks and Dedan Gills

In 2011 and 2014, the co-founders of Growing a Global Heart, Dedan Gills and Belvie Rooks, came to the University of Redlands and shared their story to an audience riveted by their photographs, poetry, personal narrative and global vision.  They spoke of a critical moment of awakening when they stood at the Door of No Return at the Elmina Slave Dungeon in Ghana.  The anger and grief over the erasure and enslavement of their ancestors was transformed unexpectedly into the vision that inspires the ceremonial planting of millions of memorial trees to honor the forgotten souls of our past – the victims of urban violence, the Underground Railroad and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Route in West Africa.

This video features Belvie Rooks and Dedan Gills, co-founders of Growing a Global Heart, interviewed by Fran Grace for the book, The Power of Love.  



Belvie Rooks is a writer and educator, creator of 'Hey Listen Up,' a groundbreaking multimedia urban eco-literacy project piloted in Southcentral L.A.  She is the creator and host of Conversations That Matter – a series featuring leaders from around the globe.  She has served on the Boards of Bioneers, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, and Institute for Noetic Sciences. Her essays are featured in a number of anthologies, including, Sacred Poems in Praise of Life, My Soul is A Witness: African American Women's Spirituality, and The Same River Twice, and many others. 

Dedan Gills is a poet, visionary, and active member for 8 years in one of the first urban intentional environmental communities in the country--the L.A. Eco-Village.  Certified in Permaculture, he was a founding member of the L.A. Permaculture Guild.  He is passionate about "Green Recovery,” combining environmental stewardship and restoration of blighted urban area. His poems have appeared in the International Sufi Association Journal.