As many of you know, I’ve been traveling doing LGBTQ activism and anti-oppression / anti-racist work, both at the Mennonite Convention, USA and the Wild Goose Festival, respectively. Following Wild Goose, I returned to Charlotte, NC en route to Detroit for the Christian Peacemakers Team World Congress. It was a Monday (July 13th), and an historic Moral Monday / Forward Together March was happening in Winston-Salem. I traveled there with my two activist companions, Holly Roach and Steve Knight. We were joining a group of National Faith Leaders and Auburn Senior Fellows: Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, Dr. Sharon Groves, and Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis. Macky Alston of Auburn Media was also marching with us.
Rev. Dr. Barber is the architect of the Forward Together movement and president of the NAACP of North Carolina, and as National Faith Leaders, we gathered for prayer and reflection, then took place on the front line of the march. We marched into the plaza, took place on the grass, listened to Yara Allen sing beautiful gospel songs, then some of the National Faith Leaders spoke and urged the state legislature to restore the voting rights act. Jacqui Lewis sang a portion of a song that called for glory.
What struck me about my time both on the front line of this march and listening to all of the speakers is that the moment when speakers were fighting poverty and racism was also the moment where I realized this is a radically intersectional and interconnected movement. I watched carefully, and there is (of course) room to analyze how the movement has materialized. Suffice it to say, as an out and radically queerMestizaje, I stood with my black and brown kin, some from North Carolina and others from afar, and we re-imagined our future together. We took a moment and turned it into a movement, together. We stood together in the heat of Winston-Salem to take place against the oppression that has displaced black and brown bodies. Isn’t this similar to the ways that MLP has sought to create change within the Presbyterian Church (USA)?! We have taken place together, with differences?
With the passage of 14F and 10A, we still stand at the precipice of change. We have seen incremental change, but let us not think this is only a moment. We are part of a movement. We are part of a movement for radical inclusion in the church, and a movement whose roots are anti-oppression, anti-racist, pro-labor, pro-LGBTQ, pro-women’s rights, anti-violence, and so forth. We are at the precipice of change! Let us lean into the moment as a movement that is becoming different at every turn.
For a video clip of the voting rights act march see this clip!