People of Faith Must Fight Against All Injustice

Shawanda Jackson

When I think about my time at the 2016 International AIDS Conference there are three words that summarize my experience – Faith, Justice and Action. As a young adult leader who lives and works daily towards the fight against injustice, I was extremely excited and anxious to learn from other movers and shakers who are advocating for human right and freedom for all people. I was excited to go to an unfamiliar place and grow and learn about such an epidemic that is not discussed in the many communities that I am apart of.

The week started with the EAA Interfaith Pre-Conference. At the interfaith conference there were conversations led by people who were living with the disease, people who were researchers, advocators and individuals who in some shape or form are affected by this disease. We discussed the roles that faith leaders and individuals have in the conversations about faith and sexuality. There was discussion about global prevention, treatment targets, new research, global responses to the AIDS response and funding. There was discussion about who are most affected by HIV & AIDS – the vulnerable, transgenders, gays, women between the ages of 15-25,sex workers, drug users, lesbians and youth.  All of these conversations ended with charging us to respect the human rights of all people and  to continue to fight for equality and continuing to respect and always live in love.   Continue reading “People of Faith Must Fight Against All Injustice”

Stepping Back, Leaning In

Gabrielle Horton (Twitter: @gabhorton); Incoming Master’s in Public Policy Candidate, University of Michigan

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July 5th: Alton Sterling.

July 6th: Philando Castile.

July 7th: Five members of the Dallas Police Department.

And on July 8th, I served my last day with the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office, where I oversaw our Public Engagement efforts in South Los Angeles. The timing of these brutal murders, two of which were documented on smartphone video cameras, and subsequent protests –  including in Los Angeles (where Black Lives Matter protesters continue to occupy City Hall for a second week in a row) – have continued to weigh heavily on my heart and mind.

As the departure date for South Africa drew near, I found myself relieved to be free from work duties, which would have surely kept me buried sky high with briefing papers and emails ensuring our office’s proper response and presence in this ongoing narrative around law enforcement, communities of color, and violence. I even started to mentally frame the 21st International AIDS Conference as a vacation of some sorts, where I would simply join the rest of the ELCA Young Adult Cohort for a week of HIV/AIDS workshops and then return back to “reality” when I got back to America. I figured that 11,000 miles away with complete strangers could in no way match the horror I witnessed on my iPhone screen just days before; and could in no way compare to the haunting dreams of gun shots and bloodshed that I had to shake loose night after night. I was convinced that this experience would finally allow me the peace of mind – even if for just eight days – to box up and shelve away my American Blackness, and check back in once the wheels touched down at LAX the following week. And while I generally understood the racialization – and even the Africanization – of the HIV/AIDS epidemic to a certain degree, I was in no ways prepared for the level of intersectionality of this epidemic, which has so profoundly shed light on my identify as an advocate for urban communities of color, and a tireless advocate in the pursuit of justice, access and equity for all. Continue reading “Stepping Back, Leaning In”

Intersectionality is Beautiful & Messy

Rev. Tuhina Rasche
Associate Pastor of Social Ministry and Adult Faith Formation, Grace Lutheran Church in Palo Alto, CA

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Intersectionality: the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage.

Screen Shot 2016-03-13 at 10.08.08 AMY’all, intersectionality is HARD. I have so many identities and holding them together is complicated. A few of those identities are:

  • a woman
  • who is Asian Indian
  • AND American
  • but specifically of Bihari/ Bengali heritage (a particular point of pride here is eating dessert before AND after dinner)
  • I am also abled
  • and a Lutheran pastor to an economically privileged population
  • and I myself am economically privileged
  • but have encountered racism in the United States, in my denomination, within many circles of my life.

This list only breaks the surface. There are many characteristics and identities that come together to form the person that God created me to be.

There are then many identities, many characteristics that come together to form the person that God created you to be. There are many identities and characteristics that then come together to form the identities of the fellow Lutheran World Federation cohorts. Identities come together; they intertwine, they collide, and they do things I cannot possibly imagine. And the world becomes complicated and messy. Continue reading “Intersectionality is Beautiful & Messy”

Intersectionality

Rozella White
Program Director, ELCA Young Adult Ministry

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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.

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Continue reading “Intersectionality”