Today is the last day we will feature a woman from #theFives as she shares her heart with us. In an attempt to break down walls and promote unity among women, we will uncover the real lives of those we haphazardly label and judge.
Here is the story of Aisha Kennedy, a woman called to promote racial unity within the church:
“I feel like people see me as a black woman with an attitude, and they don’t try to get to know me,” Aisha said.
She said when white women share an opinion there is sort of an automatic respect given, but when a black woman speaks up she is accused of having an attitude.
But having her voice heard is crucial, and she has heard Christ calling her to build a bridge for racial unity within the church and between women.
“My job is to educate, first as a human, second as a woman and third as a black woman,” she said. “This is about beginning the journey of racial unity in the church.”
She said her experience in leadership with #theFives has confirmed that it’s OK for her to be who she is, but she said it is critical for others in the church to learn not to think more or less of her experiences because of her race.
“I need people to know how I feel, and I need to be the voice of every other black woman and every other minority woman who has experienced the things I’ve experienced.”
These include feeling like she has to work twice as hard as some of her counterparts at work. She also fears for her husband safety.
“I pray for my husband every day, because he’s a 6-foot, dark-skinned black man, drives a nice car and likes hip hop,” she said. “And there is way more to him that those things.”
“People look at skin or stereotypes, and that’s all they focus on,” Aisha continued. “Give yourself five minutes with me you will learn that I am more than just strong-minded. I am outgoing, intelligent, sassy, goofy, I love reading comics with my husband, a beauty junkie, and love dancing. If they spend longer, they find out what I believe, and learn what has made Aisha. But these are things you’d never know if you’re hung up on the race part of me.”
She said getting beyond the racial hang-ups can allow us to relate as humans and as women, forming friendships that will endure every sort of hardship.
“Just because your struggle isn’t the same as my struggle doesn’t mean you don’t struggle,” Aisha said. “My testimony to everybody is, ‘Everybody has a story and you never really know what someone is going through.’
“We, as women, have to learn how to first just have the basic relationship. If you really want to know somebody, you’re going to have to genuinely initiate a conversation.”
She said this is how she got to know one of her closest friends, Rachel.
The two were in dance class when they struck up a conversation, and over time became friends.
“It’s a real genuine friendship. If I need my girlfriend I know I can call her, and it all started with walking into a dance class and saying ‘Hello!’” Aisha said. “We didn’t get hung up on ‘I’m a light-skinned black girl’ or her being a bi-racial woman.”
She said it is critical to not get hung up on stereotypes, awkward questions and assumptions.
“It’s more than just about being different,” Aisha continued. “This is about, ‘How you doin?’ Say ‘Hello!’ Give them a smile. It costs nothing. That ‘Hello!’ may initiate a conversation. Let’s build these relationships, put these excuses in the wind, so we can get to know our sisters in Christ.”
Have you found yourself in a similar situation? Share your story below.
We hope you can #findyourtribe here with us.
*All stories featured in the#FindYourTribe series were collected and written by Sarah Gooding. We love her so.