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Black Lives Matter: Transforming the LGBTQ Faith Narrative

October 28, 2015

Last week was an inspirational and invigorating experience for many of the attendees of the Faith and Family LGBTQ Power Summit. During the summit, we explored ways to build power in our own communities, to elevate the voices of LGBTQ faith leaders, to address attacks by anti-LGBTQ politicians, and to provide communities of faith with tools to create a welcoming environment for LGBTQ people. We showed the world we are pro-family, pro-faith, and pro-LGBTQ.

Left to right: Imam Daayiee, Bishop Rawls, Bishop Tolton, Bishop Abrams and Reverend Rodney McKenzie.

For those who were unable to attend, the themes of the Power Summit are capt
ured in opening plenary remarks by Rev. Rodney McKenzie, Jr., Director of the Academy for Leadership and Action at the Task Force:

My grandmother sat on green rocking chairs, in South Dallas Porches, singing songs like “Cheerios, Cheerios, push them to the bottom of the bowl and then they rise to the top.” My grandmother sat on green rocking chairs, in South Dallas porches, right in front of the drug dealers – in the midst of gun shots – in the midst of poverty singing songs like “I am solider in the army of the Lord.” My grandmother smiled, rocked back and forth and sang, a little off key, “Cheerios, Cheerios, push them to the bottom of the bowl and then they rise to the top.”

I can still hear her.

My grandmother in those moments taught me what it means to be a person of faith. To be a person of faith means to situate oneself right in the midst of what looks like hell and to provide a vision, to provide a holy resistance, to provide life itself – right where the pain is, right where the wound is.

As a community of LGBTQ people and people who love LGBTQ people we have experienced the wounds – we’ve had to sing songs to ourselves – we’ve had to create institutions that would give us life.

And we did this –

Right in the midst of being called abominations, right in the midst of faith being used to deny us basic rights, right in the midst of being misgendered over and over again and using faith as an excuse, right in the midst of conversion therapies, right in the midst of denying our families, right in the midst of being fired from pulpits for speaking what is right – we have survived.

The Faith and Family LGBTQ Power Summit is much more than a conference – more than a training – the Faith and Family LGBQ Power Summit is radical resistance – it is using our collective anger to transform the world.

The Task Force believes that power is organized people and organized money. If we, as people of faith, collectively use power in a new way – we can create a world in which black lives really do matter – we can create a world that would in which the death of 22 trans women would be a national emergency (and it is) – we can create a world in which ends the exportation of homohatred across the globe – we can create a world in which reproductive justice isn’t a question but a clear undebated right.

Rodney McKenzie, Jr., Director of the Academy for Leadership and Action, National LGBTQ Task Force

The Faith and Family LGBT Power Summit is needed now – more than ever. We are taking Faith back – we are coming out as people of faith – and this very act, this radical act of Faith will change our world.

 

by Rodney McKenzie, Jr., Director of the Academy for Leadership and Action, National LGBTQ Task Force

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