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The Intersections of Oppression

GCORR presents The Rev. Dr. Pamela Lightsey’s vital conversation talk on the intersection of oppression and her experiences in Ferguson, Mo. We invite you to browse the GCORR website to learn more about the work of GCORR and to find resources to assist you in having your own vital conversations.

View and download the study guide here.

Before viewing, post this definition of intersectionality on chart paper a chalkboard, or a dry-erase board: Intersectionality is a concept describe the ways in which oppressive institutions (racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, xenophobia, classism, etc.) are interconnected.

View the video as a group. Invite the group to list out the various ways Dr. Lightsey identifies herself (i.e., “woman,” “clergy,” “African-American,” etc.)

1. What is ‘intersectionality,’ as you understand it? List some ways that understanding intersectionality may affect how the church addresses racial injustice?

2. In what ways does Dr. Lightsey say she has been affected by intersectionality in her life and ministry?

3. What is the “Black Lives Matter” movement? Discuss what you know about it. What does Dr. Lightsey say about it? Why do you think the movement arose?

4. What Christian or community groups in your area are addressing intersections of institutional bias and oppression? Describe their work.

5. How does our congregation (or ministry setting) address intersections of institutional/systemic oppression (racism, sexism, heterosexism, classism, etc.) in our worship, Christian education and outreach? What connections are we to make between the call to discipleship and the call to bring about peace and justice in our community? In our denomination? In our world?

6. What more can we do in this ministry setting to further racial justice and equality? What issues in our own community are we willing to address to move us closer toward racial justice?

7. If all people are made in the image of God, what is the problem with All Lives Matter? Would another movement or expanding the Black Lives Matter movement be a way to allow non-black people, especially those who don’t feel welcome in the movement to be included in the work of ending racism and oppression?
Rev. Dr. Pamela Lightsey serves as Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs at Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago. Her research interests include classical and contemporary just war theory, Womanist theology, Queer theory and theology, and African American religious history and theologies. Lightsey’s publications include her book, Our Lives Matter: A Womanist Queer Theology (Wipf and Stock, 2015), as well as, “He Is Black and We are Queer” in Albert Cleage Jr. and the Black Madonna and Child (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), “Reconciliation” in Prophetic Evangelicals: Envisioning a Just and Peaceable Kingdom (Eerdmans, 2012), and “If There Should Come a Word” in Black United Methodists Preach! (Abingdon Press, 2012).

Lightsey is an ordained elder in the Northern Illinois Conference of The United Methodist Church. She holds a bachelor of science from Columbus State University, a master of divinity from Gammon Theological Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center, and a doctor of philosophy from Garrett-Evangelical.

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