The Center for Leadership Excellence, in partnership with COSROW, is pleased to lift up the voices of women in ministry encouraging fellow women in ministry. Please enjoy this month’s Encouragement from Bryana Clover, member of Iglesia Fiesta Cristiana UMC and co-author of Wait, Is this Racist?: A Guide to Becoming an Anti-racist Church. Anyone can sign up to receive these monthly emails here.
I’ve spent the past few years diving deep into the institution of the Church through the way of the local church as I support passionate (and skeptical) brothers and sisters as they embark (or consider a journey) on a path towards racial justice; truth; liberation; transformation; reconciliation. One of the most common questions I receive from my clients is, “I’ve attended all the book studies and workshops, but I still don’t know what to DO. What action am I to take, as a White person, without messing it all up?”
Is this you? Have you felt this tension before? If so, you are not alone. As Audre Lorde reminds us, community is where it’s at. But, for those of us in the church, we know the community already. I mean, that’s what we do on a regular basis! So, why is this so hard? I believe the question we should be asking ourselves is more specific.
Read this quote from Audrey Lorde*:
Without community, there is no liberation.
Reflect: How might we build a community that includes the uplifting and empowerment of BILPOC women?
For centuries, Black women have been teaching us and encouraging us to work together for our collective liberation against the systems that oppress us. So, what does that look like?
- Start with “being” rather than “doing.” We often skip this step, because White Supremacy culture often prioritizes the product over the process. If we view racial justice work as a list of “doings” that have a start and an end, we can find ourselves overwhelmed and fatigued. Get crystal clear on who you want to be. Write it down; reflect on it; let it evolve throughout the year.
- Dedicate intentional time to unlearning harmful narratives of the Black experience, spirituality, and existence. There’s a treat that comes along with this unlearning, too. It gives you the opportunity to learn about your own heritage. You are not just a White woman. Or a Black woman. You are so much more than that. Take some time to discover your own Critical Family History. You deserve it.
- Share the HECK out of Black women’s work. Commit to purchasing from Black-owned businesses; if you use social media, follow Black women and share their work on your own platforms; purchase Black-authored books for your children’s school; add Black authors to your own bookshelves; attend public gatherings organized by Black women with the only intention of experiencing what the Spirit wants you to experience.
It may even help to purchase a new journal for this year that is solely dedicated to your self-discovery. Your journey to being. And, when January 1, 2024, comes around, I am confident that the worry of what to do will at least feel like less of a burden.
In partnership,Center for Leadership Excellence and the Commission on the Status and Role of Women
*This quote comes from Audrey Lorde’s speech, “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House,” delivered in 1979.