116: Coffee with Grace Aheron

Grace and Claire

Grace Aheron is a force of nature all unto herself. She is wise, courageous and full of faith. Her stories include advocacy for others, leaps of faith, and living into her own being.

I took some time at the beginning of our conversation to make relationship connections.

Being introduced to Claire Hitchins and Taylor (Poindexter) Devine helps all of us know Grace and helps the world be a better place.

Grace and Taylor

The web of goodness and love I see developing in the Coffeepot Fellowship and United Faith Leaders is a beautiful thing. They are certainly forging new connections. However, they are mostly shining a light on the kinds of interconnectedness, beauty, and strength that already existed. We’re truly grateful just to be participants. Do, please, make connections with Claire and Taylor.

Grace promoted Black and Pink, which describes itself as an open family of LGBTQ prisoners and “free world” allies who support each other. Grace asked us especially to become penpals. There are many ways to get involved and support Black and Pink, so definitely dig into their website.

“Softest Tees”

Grace mentioned that Black and Pink also does work toward the abolition of the prison industrial complex with special urgency focused on the violence upon LGBTQ people. I’m glad this abolition came up, even briefly, because Americans (myself included) need to become much more aware of the injustices that are being perpetrated as law enforcement and incarceration. Our nation was on track to radically reduce the number of prisons when our government pivoted toward “law and order” and rapidly increased incarceration rates instead.

And, spoiler alert, people of color were – and still are – incarcerated at disproportionately higher rates. So while it may seem instinctively absurd for 21st-century Americans to consider abolition of the prison industrial complex, that is largely a factor of 1) one’s age and 2) one’s skin color (and not necessarily in that order).

Grace is presently accomplishing all of the good you hear about in the interview while being the “Y00f wrangler” and campus minister at St. Paul’s Memorial Church and while living in the Charis Community Cville (Charlottesville, VA) which she founded after working for the Episcopal Diocese of California.

Nothing about us, without us, is for us. – slogan of South African disability and youth activists / poster by Ricardo Levins Morales

Links:

Sponsor: United Faith Leaders

Black and Pink(.org)

Charis Community Cville

St. Paul’s Memorial Church

Roman Catholic Womanpriests

Interview with Taylor (Poindexter) Devine

Claire Hitchins (t-shirts?)

Wild Goose Festival

Oberlin College

University of Virginia (UVa)

Coffeepot Fellowship on iTunes