NEWTON, Kansas (Mennonite Mission Network) – When the Rev. Lindsey Anderson and Micah Rose Emerson wanted to illustrate the intersections of oppression faced by women of color, they emphasized their point by using a modern pop-culture artist — Megan Thee Stallion.
The rapper and singer/songwriter, who is a Black woman, stated in July that she had been shot in the leg the week prior by her boyfriend while riding together in his car. However, she did not call law enforcement during the incident because she feared the police would escalate the situation beyond what was necessary.
What happened next was all too familiar for Anderson and Emerson, who are both Black. Megan Thee Stallion's account of events was met with dismissal. Her motives were questioned. The photos of her injuries were scrutinized and debated online. When confronted by the intertwined oppressions of gender and race, as well as domestic and police violence, throngs of people on social media hand-waved it away and blamed the victim. But would people have done this if Megan Thee Stallion was white?
At the beginning of their webinar, "Trauma at the Intersection of Race and Gender," Anderson, co-pastor of Love Rising Lutheran Church in Detroit, and Emerson, a writer and director of stage plays and short films, asked the audience to put themselves into Megan Thee Stallion's story. When had they been doubted? When had they feared for their safety? When had they been believed?
"As with most great conversations, it went in a really organic direction that we did not expect and couldn't predict," Anderson said. "We were able to enter into and model some of that space where we shared stories about ourselves, affirmed one another, and were able to tell the truth in a way that other spaces in the world often don't let women do."
The September 26 webinar was the second in the DOOR (Discovering Opportunities for Outreach and Reflection) Teaching Collective webinar series. The DOOR Teaching Collective is a group of seven women from diverse backgrounds and experiences who are partnering to co-lead webinars focused on a variety of topics. Sponsored by DOOR, the weekly series began September 19, and will run through November 7. DOOR is a partner organization of Mennonite Mission Network.
The webinar series is designed for individuals and small groups or Sunday School classes to watch together and discuss. The webinars will be accessible through DOOR's website after their live air date. For more information and to register for the October 17 webinar, click here. To receive updates on upcoming DOOR Teaching Collective webinars, follow DOOR on Facebook.
The impetus for the webinar series came earlier this summer when Andrea Sawyer-Kirksey, executive director of DOOR, reached out to Anderson, Emerson, and other educators, artists and community leaders. Sawyer-Kirksey asked if they would be interested in leading webinars on topics they were passionate about.
"When [Andrea] brought up the Teaching Collective, I immediately said yes," recalled Emerson. "Because, how often do we get to see a group of Black and Indigenous women of color? How often do we get to hear them share and teach on their experiences?" Emerson will lead a second webinar on October 31st focusing on systemic racism in foster care.
"I'm excited that DOOR has been able to bring together a collective of just so many amazing women," said Anderson. "Women who are wise and powerful and just doing amazing work in their communities ... I'm as excited to learn from the other women as I am to offer anything myself."
She will co-lead a second webinar on October 17th centered around mixed-race relationships.
DOOR Teaching Collective Webinar Schedule:
10/17, 10AM CDT Navigating Mixed-Race Intimate Relationships in the time of BLM Andrea Sawyer-Kirksey & Rev. Lindsey Anderson
10/31, 10AM CDT Taken: The New Jane Crow Micah Rose Emerson
11/7, 10AM CDT Post-Election Women of Color Talk Back DOOR Teaching Collective
*Please note that while not expected, DOOR might reschedule or substitute speakers and/or topics, based on speaker availability or technical difficulties.