Nashville, TN — The Healing Force, a popular Christian family act represented by Indie Extreme, has been awarded the Bunche Medal for “bridging and celebrating African-American and African culture with spirit-affirming universal values, sparkling creativity, and stunning music, dance and traditional story-telling.”
The international Bunche Medal was crafted in 2003 to honor the 100th anniversary of the birth of Dr. Ralph J. Bunche, the first U.S. citizen and the first person of color in the world to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. The medal has been given since 2003 to individuals who have dedicated their lives to the pursuit of finding peaceful solutions to social problems through cultural education and enlightenment.
Founded in 1975, The Healing force features Joseph and Gail Anderson, their daughter Sonji Gardner, and their son Karim. The performing family uses traditional African music, drumming, dancing and storytelling to encourage positive behavior, provide creative opportunities, and enrich school curriculums. They have traveled the country, appearing at schools, colleges, churches, museums, festivals, family reunions and community events. The group turns every performance into a celebration of African culture and spirit, where audience participation is encouraged.
The North Carolina performers also are the first laureates to be named “Goodwill Ambassadors of the Arts”. Part of their new duties, in addition to continuing to educate and enlighten audiences around the world with African-based music, dancing and stories, will be to oversee the creation of “jeli” gardens — vegetable gardens grown by children to help feed the community.
“We are flabbergasted and delighted beyond words to receive this recognition,” said Gail Anderson, who received the medal with other members of the family quartet at The Blessings Project in Winston-Salem, N.C. “We are deeply committed to helping children. We’ve been raising funds to help the citizens of Zambougou, Mali, build a new school and vegetable gardens. We’ve received letters of appreciation from the governor and the mayor, and the city council has issued a special proclamation to honor our efforts.”
The Bunche Medal was designed by Alex Shagin, an acclaimed artist who designed medals for the Olympics in Moscow and has exhibited works at noted museums, galleries and private collections around the world. Other recipients of the medal include Nelson Mandela, a former president of South Africa, and Paul Rusesabagina, a courageous hotel manager who helped save more than 1,000 lives during the genocide in Rwanda.
For more information about the Bunche Medal, The Healing Force, or the group’s fundraising efforts, visit
“We are very excited to hear that The Healing Force has received the Bunche Medal,” said Kathy Douglas, CEO for Indie Extreme. “Joseph, Gail, Sonji Gardner and Karim are doing incredible things to help others. We are honored to represent them.”
Indie Extreme, which is based in Brentwood, Tenn., represents musical acts ranging from folk legend Judy Collins to hit CCM artist Matt Brouwer. The firm provides administrative and managerial services such as correspondence, bookkeeping, CD/merchandise fulfillment, marketing, publicity, database development, web site development, management/maintenance, e-commerce management, and the coordination of vendor services.
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