Cassandra has served Be the Bridge as a moderator of our main Facebook group for nearly a year, and next year will be stepping into a new role leading and guiding our POC Care Group. She brings a lot of experience and wisdom to the group, and truly has the heart of a counselor. Here’s my interview with Cassandra.
Tell us a little bit about your history growing up as it relates to race and the church.
I remember from a very young age hearing of injustice and racism experienced by “my people” as I would often say, and I began to educate myself because something in me felt that there had to be more than what we were getting at school. For book reports, I would intentionally choose books about or written by black people. Imagine my teachers’ surprise seeing “Roots” and “The Autobiography of Malcom X” as my choices!
This drive continued all the way through middle school, high school, college and into adulthood. About six years ago and after attending black churches and white churches, I began to observe how race and religion were so intertwined but how it was rarely, if ever discussed. This led to the realization of how much of my understanding of Christianity was based upon the white Americanized version. I’ve had to unlearn and re-learn so many of the things that I was taught as it relates to my faith, but it has also been extremely liberating getting to know Jesus with fresh eyes.
How did your journey lead you to Be the Bridge?
I first got connected with BTB in November of 2016 after attending a multi-cultural Christian conference. A few weeks after the conference (which fell on the weekend before the election), and feeling heavy- hearted the words came to me that regardless of what was happening in the world, Christians could be the bridge. I started searching those exact terms, “christians be the bridge” and came across the Facebook group. The rest, as they say, is history.
How did you go from participation in the group to volunteering?
The main reason I wanted to get involved was because I saw that it was an organization led by a Black woman! Seeing Tasha’s face and reading more on the website about Be The Bridge, I didn’t care about theological or political differences, or if she put sugar or salt in her grits (sugar is best), I just wanted to be a part of this organization in some capacity.
How has your experience volunteering changed you?
Volunteering with BTB has given me language and terminology to articulate my passion for racial justice. Volunteering, having discussions, witnessing various thoughts people have about race have allowed me to develop a better theological framework of race. I’ve been able to communicate these things with greater clarity and confidence in many of the faith-based spaces I’ve been in.
What are you looking forward to as you step into your new role?
As I step into my new role in the POC care group, the word that comes to my mind is “shalom” which we often think about meaning peace. The word also speaks about wholeness, flourishing, tranquility and contentment. Many POC have been exhausted for so long and felt the weight of injustice and racism, either experienced or observed. I am hoping that the POC care group will be a place of retreat and a source encouragement… a place of shalom.
We are so thankful to have Cassandra on our Be the Bridge team and look forward to what this next year will bring for her!