Shayla Epps and Claire Necessary met face-to-face in a Be the Bridge group.  Prior to meeting, however, they had already connected through the Be the Bridge to Racial Unity discussion group on Facebook.  For those of you who participate in the discussion group, Claire’s name may sound familiar.  She serves as an Administrator for the group.  Both of these women have a passion for Be the Bridge and are valuable members of our community.  We are honored to highlight them on the blog today!

How did you meet? 

We met in a Be the Bridge group in Atlanta.

Have you participated in a Be the Bridge group? 

Yes, we both have participated in multiple groups because they are so powerful. We cherish the relationships that we have made through them and look forward to doing more groups.

The groups are really where the rubber meets the road. It is where the real heart-work happens. Once you develop real life relationships with people who are different than you, their story matters to you. When you grow your empathy muscles, you begin to see things with fresh eyes.

Why is Be the Bridge important to you?

Be the Bridge offers the church a place to begin wrestling through its racial history and our country’s history.  It sets the table for productive conversation to happen that is life changing. The education that takes place within the groups is eye-opening and healing. The relationships that have started through groups and the witness that this becomes is truly amazing. The church should be leading in this conversation and Be the Bridge is a Biblical and powerful tool that makes that happen.

Why did you join The Race to Austin?

We are forming a team because we believe in Be the Bridge and want to see it, not simply continue to exist, but to thrive! Be the Bridge is grassroots. It is powered by volunteers, which is beautiful and inspiring, but the organization is growing so fast and needs sustainability. This fundraiser is a way to get us there. It is a tangible way to say that the ministry matters and give others who have been ministered to the opportunity to say thanks.

What would you tell someone who is considering investing in Be the Bridge?

DO it! Sometimes we can feel hopeless in the face of all the social and racial unrest that our culture is facing right now. It is hard to know what to do, but we know that NOT doing or learning something is not an option. Enter Be the Bridge. It provides a on-ramp for interaction in the area of racial reconciliation.

Interaction may look many different ways depending on the person, but the curriculum and groups create space to begin one’s journey.  When you invest in Be the Bridge, you get to be a part of that.  Giving is also an opportunity for the thousands of folks out there who have already benefited and been blessed by Be the Bridge.