Pauline Eichten, Beloved Community Communications Team
I attended the February 22 Intersectionality 101 session led by Alfonso Wenker of Team Dynamics. He described it as a teach-in and began with a definition. Intersectionality is about the identities that intersect in ways that affect how individuals are viewed, understood and treated. Specifically, it’s the “simultaneous, overlapping and compounding nature of multiple forms of injustice and discrimination.” The oppression experienced can operate at the internal, interpersonal, institutional and structural level.
The term was initiated by Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989 as a legal concept related to cases of discrimination. Judges seemed unable to see the overlapping gender and racial discrimination faced by black women, and looked at them as separate issues. Intersectionality provided a way to address the multiple layers of discrimination a person might be experiencing.
Rinku Sen, in an essay about intersectionality, points out that it isn’t an identity, it’s a theory, a lens that can help us be more effective in our social justice approach. He wrote:
I was at a recent discussion about the criminal justice system and was struck by a comment from one of the presenters. He shared a definition of reconciliation that he learned in South Africa: reconciliation is removing barriers to authentic relationships. Might our tendency to oversimplify, and assume we know who someone is and what they experience, be one of those barriers? How can we use an intersectional lens to expand the possibilities in our encounters with each other?
For more on this topic, see:
The final Intersectionality 101 follow up session "Class and Race" will be held on March 14 at 6:30-8:30 p.m., in Parish Hall. Please register!
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Beloved Community Resources
Unity Justice Database
Team Dynamics House of Intersectionality
Anti-Racism Resources in the Unity Libraries Collection
Creative Writers of Color in Unity Libraries
The History of Race Relations and Unity Church, 1850-2005
Beloved Community Staff Team
The Beloved Community Staff Team (BCST) strengthens and coordinates Unity’s antiracism and multicultural work, and provides opportunities for congregants and the church to grow into greater intercultural competency. We help the congregation ground itself in the understanding of antiracism and multiculturalism as a core part of faith formation. We support Unity’s efforts to expand our collective capacity to imagine and build the Beloved Community. Here, we share the stories of this journey — the struggles, the questions, and the collaborations — both at Unity and in the wider world.
The current members of the Beloved Community Staff Team include Rev. Kathleen Rolenz, Rev. KP Hong, Barbara Hubbard, Drew Danielson, Laura Park, Rev. Karen Gustafson, Angela Wilcox, Pauline Eichten, and Erika Sanders.