Program Director, ELCA Young Adult Ministry
Intersectionality is a term used to describe how various identities merge to create a person’s reality. In terms of social justice work, intersectionality points to the fact that one issue of injustice is uniquely tied to other issues of injustice. For instance, I am a Black Latina young woman, who lives at the cross roads of certain intersections, specifically race and gender.
“There is no thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.”
– Audre Lorde
Audre Lorde, the radical writer, Black feminist, womanist, and advocate describes intersectionality in this quote. For many, issues of injustice are viewed through a single lens and that becomes their primary focal point. This is problematic. Human beings are made up of many identities and society is ordered in such a way that these identities become inextricably linked to a person’s lived reality. We cannot talk about gender injustice without talking about economic systems, hunger, poverty, race, and any other number of realities.
One of the goals of the ELCA Young Adult Cohort is to uplift the reality of intersectionality among young faith leaders. I believe that the Christian tradition is facing a crisis of leadership. Many leaders have impeccable theological training but lack a practical lens that allows them to move their theory into grounded practice. Viewing issues through an intersectional lens invites people to be curious about systems and structures that perpetuate cycles of oppression. Combining this way of being with an explicit faith call to be agents of justice, compassion, and humility can create a prophetic imagination that leads communities of faith into deeper engagement.
This week, members of the ELCA Young Adult Cohort attending the 60th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women will be exploring the connection between gender injustice, women’s empowerment, and sustainable development. As members of a faith based community, the cohort will use the framework of Christian tradition and Lutheran theology to explore how the God of creation calls us to speak up against injustice, fight against marginalization of women, and advocate for sustainable practices that care for creation. We invite you to join us on this journey and to consider the intersections of your life and your identity.
Please join the conversation on #uncsw16