The Ruach is Charlotte's only band playing modern/contemporary Jewish worship music and is a 501(c)(3) non-profit whose mission is to spread the joy of Judaism through music. All of its members are volunteers. The Ruach has released one CD, "Real. Jewish. Rock." Songs from the CD can be downloaded from Bandcamp.com (www.theruach.bandcamp.com). As a result of the pandemic the band has gained an international following. On the 4th Friday of each month at 6:45 pm Eastern on their YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/theruachband), The Ruach provides The Shabbat Experience, the modern Friday night Sabbath service built on Jewish tradition. You can also follow The Ruach on Facebook and Instagram.
Raef Haggag is an Egyptian-American singer. Raef picked up playing guitar during his time at the University of Maryland where he studied computer science. After graduation, he worked briefly as a software engineer before leaving to teach high school for eight years. As he says:"I decided to switch careers to a high school teacher because I wanted to help others in a more direct way (and because it was pretty boring sitting in front of a computer for 8 hours a day)" Teaching gave Raef more time to focus on songwriting, often performing at local coffee shops and busking at metro stations. He was introduced to the national stage after his trio rock band "Great Seneca" toured the United States of America as part of the "Voices for Change" initiative. Raef also joined the "Poetic Vision Tour"; a band of traveling musicians and poets catering to the American Muslim community. Raef has shared several Muslim-themed covers of popular mainstream songs, attracting young listeners wanting a modern take on religious music. Raef signed with Awakening Records and released his debut album The Path in 2014 In the summer of 2019 he released his second album Mercy with a notable shift towards rock and country music.
Charlotte Pride Band
Charlotte Pride Band provides an open, inviting environment for musicians of all ability levels while promoting the value and respect of LGBTQIA+ people in the Charlotte metropolitan area through quality musical performances. We believe that through music, any community can be brought together, and we hope that one day, we all will live in a diverse, supportive community that is welcoming to everyone. We are honored to be included in today's program.
Author and Poet L’Monique King is a native New Yorker who now resides in Charlotte, North Carolina. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English, minored in Black Studies and obtained a graduate certificate in Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies from UNCC. Prior to pursuing higher education, L’Monique facilitated writing workshops in New York State prisons and had a regular byline in a community newspaper based in Queens New York. L’Monique’s peer review journal article on the redefining of Dr. W.E.B. Dubois’s talented tenth theory was one of the most downloaded articles in the journal within two disciplines amongst over 5,000 authors. Since graduating college she’s taught English, African American History and Civics to public school students. She's currently a staff writer for QNotes Newspaper where she writes feature news articles and the column "Our People." She’s a full time employee coordinating two HIV Intervention and Prevention programs for a CDC funded nonprofit health and education organization. Her book From Collards to Callaloo: Poems & Letters to Assata is a collection of poems and letters written to the granddaughter she’s never met. It is a journey of healing she's bravely shared with the world with the hope that it will one day land in the hands of the granddaughter. In the meantime, she continues to be the voice of the voiceless, advocating for the oppressed and marginalized with love, education and equality as her guide.