Social justice work is complex and important. It includes powerful, deep listening and genuine care. It requires allyship, an acknowledgement of privilege, and, perhaps most importantly, proximity.
Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless
In my first year of seminary, I did community work at the Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless. I triaged homeless individuals who came to us for help, and worked closely with the families we housed. They needed pastoral care and I was the person to provide that. My days were filled with stories of true strength in the face of suffering and a deep desire to persevere. I offered small group ministry to mothers on the brink of homelessness, providing them with community and healing.
Mental Health Awareness
Mental health has been an important justice issue for me since high school when I became involved in the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Mental illness is extremely relevant in the life of my family. I bring mental health awareness with me in my ministry, always striving to dismantle stigma. At my teaching congregation, I was staff contact of the Mental Health Awareness Team and connected the congregation to the mental health community.
Gender Non-Binary Initiative
I brought an initiative to my teaching congregation on what it means to be gender non-binary. Gender is not simply “male” and “female;” there are a myriad of ways gender is expressed. In the congregation, I provided pronoun buttons, monthly gender facts, sensitivity training, children’s Religious Education, and Adult Religious Education, including multiple outside speakers. I also invited a minister and her gender non-binary child to preach and offer a workshop. This led to a cultural shift in the congregation.
“Two of our gender non-conforming members spoke to me about how affirmed they felt due to Jane’s project.” Rev. Dr. David Breeden
My passion for justice extends to marches, protests, and rallies. I make it a commitment to be a presence in the social justice community and to attend events that align with my values. I also make it a priority to attend workshops on justice issues. I have attached a selective list below:
Families Belong Together March
Love Resists Criminalization, Workshop
“Seeing Racial Waters” Workshop, Dr. Robin DiAngelo
Conversations Against Racism Workshop
Good Friday Solidarity at Planned Parenthood
Homeless Day on the Hill
Protest of Immigration Ban
Clergy Training, Dr. William J. Barber
Moral National Day of Action
Faith and Addiction Conference
Conference on Pursuing Racial Justice and Reconciliation
Through my work, I became increasingly aware of my white, cis-gendered, middle class privilege, and I learned how to use it for the benefit of others. I attended many rallies and protests throughout my internship and I quickly learned my role. I was there to back up people on the frontlines who are marginalized. When I went to Homeless Day on the Hill, I provided a privileged presence and let the people who are un-housed do the speaking. I have done extensive work on gender, and have learned to use my privilege here too. As a cis-gender woman, it is my role to interrupt microaggressions and to center the voices and stories of those who identify as non-binary.