Let me tell you my story…
author, Lauren Neal
It’s about me and my heart. I grew up a city girl. First, northern Virginia–near Washington, D.C. Then Seattle. Then, something changed. I moved to the Deep South at 16 1/2 years old. It was different. It was traumatic. Partly because I was 16 1/2, walking into my 3rd high school and attempting yet again to make new friends. These new friends were different than me in a few ways: the town we lived in was small and I was used to a big city, they had brown skin and I had white skin, they were over there and I was pressured to stay over here–by the other white girls. They told me to not go over there. I saw and heard things about racism that I had not witnessed before in the big city. It started a wounding and sadness that never went away.
Now, here I sit, back in the illusion of big city safety. As the second year of IF rolled around, they held the first racial reconciliation panel. I was sitting on the couch at Jasmine’s house, surrounded by my friends–some women of color and others with white skin, oblivious to our privilege. I heard the pain from the women on the screen and without fanfare I started to weep. Why was I crying? This wound was unearthed and I had to set about bandaging it.
More recently, I was asked, “What do you have for women of color here at Northshore?” Wow, there’s that wound again! My healing is now coming through listening and giving voice to others. I’m taking back the power I relinquished at 16, to be with women of color. We’re holding hands and entering into the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, together. No longer separate. All women are welcome here. Not only to sit and observe, but to speak, declare, and take our place in God’s kingdom. I pray we can journey on together. Truly. Honestly. In love with the same gospel. It’s a new day.
On May 19th, Women’s ministry is hosting a dessert to continue the conversation that was started through IF, regarding racial reconciliation. We will hear from an expert in this field, Lina Thompson, as well as have small group discussion time. If this is something you have been wanting to talk about too, please join us! Friday, May 19th, 7-9p, Glacier Room (former Student Center). Please RSVP to Lauren Neal