News from AllianceQ: December 2019
Why I Work for Intersectional Justice: Rev. Amber Churchill
*contributed by Rev. Amber Churchill They/Them/Their (personal gender pronouns)
The moment I dread has finally arrived. I take a deep breath, walk through the door burying my head in my chest. If I don’t look up maybe I can make it out safely. As I walk, I rehearse dozens of scenarios. What would I say if confronted? How would I respond? How can I stay safe? I move as quickly as possible until I’m outside again where I can breath.
Going to the bathroom shouldn’t be a big deal yet when you look like me it is at a minimum anxiety producing. Every time I enter into a public space, especially the sacrosanct halls of public restrooms, I spin the roulette wheel and pray it lands on a space that favors my safety. My reality is not uncommon among queer folk and the fear and anxiety that comes with existing as “the other” is not unique to queer communities.
I don’t know what it’s like to be a person of color in the United States or Canada. I don’t have that lived experience. I don’t know what it’s like to be a person with disabilities or a person who is forced to migrate from their home or an indigenous person who has had their home taken from them or a person of African descent who was forcibly removed from their homelands and sold like livestock but I do know what my trauma feels like. It is this knowledge that tells me to trust and believe others when they tell me their stories.
As I began listening to the experiences of other impacted people in my community and church, I heard hauntingly similar worries. Will my family and I be safe? Why can’t straight(in my case)/white people see what’s happening? Why do informed people stay silent? These stories made me realize that our journeys are not as dissimilar as we are made to believe. Although from different origins, our pain and trauma is often experienced similarly.
In My Grandmother’s Hands author Resmaa Menakem says, “our bodies have a form of knowledge that is different from our cognitive brains… Often this knowledge is stored in our bodies as wordless stories about what is safe and what is dangerous.” My body knows this truth, as it constricts when I walk into a bathroom. I see this knowledge in the bodies of people of color as they live with white people. I see this in creation as she fights to survive our consumption.
In the beginning the Divine called us all good. As a church we proclaim that all are welcome at the table and as the Alliance we say that All Means All. In order for those last two statements to be true we must work for the healing of all God’s Beloved children. This is why I work for intersectional justice. Anything less continues to divide and fracture the Beloved Community. May we work towards the healing of our world and in so doing work for our own healing as well.