95: Coffee with Elle Dowd

elledowd4Elle Dowd is a founding member of the #decolonizelutheranism movement. She is a wife and mother. Elle also recently transitioned from being the Youth Missioner for the Diocese of Missouri to being a first year student at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.RSS Pointer

Elle, how do you like your coffee? She likes it fromMoKaBe’s and she orders a sugar free almond italian soda with a splash of cream!

Register for October 22nd #decolonize16

elledowd3As the Youth Missioner Ferguson, Missouri was in her jurisdiction August 9th, 2014 when Michael Brown was shot. White herself, it was a serious time of service and learning for Elle and many others.

It is not unusual for our happiest moments or moments of deepest satisfaction or meaning to surface in connection to our hardest times. Such was the case for Elle when she was part of an impromptu time of communion and prayer outside the Ferguson police station in October of 2014. Broken and on their knees they prayed for and imagined what justice might look like. There is no one answer and it is difficult for every individual to figure out her/his role in peace and justice for all.

elledowd1While we see video after video of police taking lives of Americans we must remain committed to everyone. How do we say black lives matter without police feeling like they are being attacked? How do we articulate support for excellent police officers? So far I have not found quick, simple, easy answers myself but I am grateful that most of the souls in America are trying not to be defensive or offensive when it comes to talking race, policing, and justice in the courtroom.

It has become quite clear that we need to define by racism because we are definitely all not conceptualizing it the same way. Is racism only racism when it is conscious? If someone doesn’t say it or if I tries not to act on their racial inclinations is one not racist? And it may be slightly less charged a conversation if we talked about a different kind of ‘ism (and maybe not). For example, I was surprised when I was substitute teaching, had an early period in the day with no class, a woman poked her head in the door and asked if everything was going alright so far. It was but I was confused why another teacher would so quickly seem to be asking. It turns out she was the principal, not a teacher. My subconscious brain knew women were teachers and principals were men. elledowd6Despite all of my efforts to erase my prejudice I was still a sexist. Especially a few years back, teachers were usually women, nurses were usually women, secretaries were usually women, men are usually principals. So it makes sense but it isn’t okay and it does have consequences for women and men. The way you define sexism, do you think what I thought was sexist when the principal checked on me? If that’s sexism what is racism?

Use #decolonizelutheranism on social media when appropriate to gather information about changing the norms.