poster for the event

February 7, 2014 (Jackson) - Belhaven University will host an uplifting night with author, speaker and artist Joni Eareckson Tada. This free event will be Saturday, March 1 at 6:00 p.m. in the Belhaven University Center for the Arts on Riverside Drive. It has been 38 years since Tada has been in Mississippi and this event promises to be an inspiring evening for all who attend.

Tada, the Founder and CEO of Joni and Friends International Disability Center, is an international advocate for people with disabilities. A diving accident in 1967 left her, then 17, a quadriplegic in a wheelchair, without the use of her hands. After two years of rehabilitation, she emerged with new skills and a fresh determination to help others in similar situations. She spent many long months learning how to paint with a brush between her teeth. Tada’s high-detail fine art paintings and prints are sought-after and collected. Her best-selling autobiography Joni and the feature film of the same name have been translated into many languages, introducing her to people around the world.

Congressman Gregg Harper will introduce Tada to begin the night. The Belhaven University Dance Department will then present a special performance based on her artwork. Nicole Marquez, a talented dancer who is an incomplete quadriplegic, will perform to Tada’s song “Alone Yet Not Alone” from the movie of the same title. Tada will then speak about her life and ministry, and then conclude the night with a time of questions and answers.

“Joni has been a friend for 25 years through our shared work with the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization,” said Belhaven University President Roger Parrott. “She has always had a deep connection with the University. I couldn’t be more thrilled that she will be on campus for this special evening. Joni is a one-of-a-kind leader in the history of the Church, and I want our students, faculty, and friends to hear her story and of her passion for Jesus.”

Tada has served on the National Council on Disability and the Disability Advisory Committee to the U.S. State Department. She is Senior Associate for Disability Concerns for the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization and serves in an advisory capacity to the American Leprosy Mission, the National Institute on Learning Disabilities, Love and Action and Christian Blind Mission International, as well as on the Board of Reference for the Christian Writers Guild and the Christian Medical and Dental Society.