Growing up in South Dakota I was mostly surrounded by people who looked like me. We may think it’s okay to live and worship only with people who look like us, but really, we need diversity—I believe it is something God requires of us.
Here are a few things I’ve learned that have challenged me:
1. Ethnic diversity is sacred to God. He cares about ALL people and so should we.
2. God doesn’t want us to live or worship segregated.
3. “White privilege” is something Christians need to be aware of and fight against.
4. God is a God of justice and we should be moved to action by all the injustices ethnic minorities have experienced and continue to experience all around us.
Over the last year, I have been working with a campus ministry in Dayton, Ohio. It is so much fun to work in this diverse city. We as a staff team strive to be a ministry that is culturally diverse. We seem to have a long way to go—I am the most diverse person on our team, so far, being a white girl from South Dakota. (Everyone on staff is not only white, but from Ohio!) However, I did meet an African American gal on campus who said our group was “dramatically more diverse” than when she visited a few years ago.
I’ve also started attended the NAACP meetings. I really enjoy going to these and attending different multi-cultural campus events. I don’t talk much at the NAACP meetings, but I am learning a lot and I hope my presence let’s the students there know I care about them. I think it is so important for us as Christians to intentionally go to events where we are the minority. It is important that we know what it feels like to be in a place where our culture is not in the majority.
A few of us from Dayton Chi Alpha have been praying faithfully, almost every week this school year, for diversity in our ministry. I believe we have seen answers to these prayers, but we have a long way to go. It really is a challenge to overcome segregation and unconscious biases, but I am encouraged by God (and I hope you are too) to keep going, to keep putting myself out there, and to believe that God can do great things as we build bridges and come together.
What truths have you discovered on the road of diversity?