Until All of Us Are Free: Intersectionality at Foothills

Intersectionality is a phrase coined by Black feminist Kimberle Crenshaw, an American civil rights advocate and leading scholar of critical race theory. Intersectionality acknowledges the links between and among injustices and the ways that different identities and experiences co-exist within people – so that queer justice is Black justice is climate justice is immigration justice. Rather than competing for resources or overwhelming us, intersectionality helps us to understand the structural and systemic connections that create the conditions for oppression and injustice and invite us to address those conditions at their source.  
None of us are free until all of us are free, and the work toward freedom and justice is shared work. When we come together and seek out and respond to the places our passions and causes weave together, we can have a more significant impact than any of us could have on our own. By responding to the intersections – by approaching justice holistically – we can seed the most lasting structural and systemic change.

In 2018 Board of Trustees drafted a justice-oriented vision grounded in intersectionality, especially in our 6th vision statement: 
Foothills is a leader in Northern Colorado in developing sustainable, innovative, intersectional approaches to caring for our earth and its people to ensure a greater flourishing of all life.
The board was aware of the many different justice commitments our mission and our faith require of our community. And they were aware of the tendency for these commitments to compete with each other, or quickly become overwhelming to the point of inaction – especially for a predominantly white congregation like ours. By centering intersectionality in our justice work, we can maximize our resources to have the most impact and collectively ground in the commitment to liberation for all that our faith requires of us.
Activist Ericka Hart reminds us that “Intersectionality is more than just talking about the numerous identities a person holds. It is about the overlapping, multiple sources of oppression that people experience due to their multifaceted identities.” As we look ahead in our shared justice work, the lens of intersectionality reminds us to seek not just the places where injustice overlaps. Intersectionality directs us toward those places where our efforts can have the greatest impact and the farthest reach and, as our vision encourages, ensures a “greater flourishing of all life.” 
With all this in mind, the Foothills Intersections Group was born. The group is comprised of two leaders from each of Foothills’ Justice Ministries. The group’s goal is to address social change more explicitly and social justice at the intersections, share knowledge/lessons learned, support each other, and improve communication and cross-pollination. 
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