The Hidden Figures of the Church

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From Fannie Lou Hamer to Breonna Taylor, black women can no longer be erased from the push for racial justice.

As evangelical organizations and white pastors speak out with new urgency to declare “black lives matter,” many have in mind the deaths of black men. The high-profile murders of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia and George Floyd in Georgia have spurred a global outcry and shifted something within the church.

But in this new iteration of evangelical reckoning with systemic racism and police brutality, there has not been the same attention toward black women—namely, 26-year-old Breonna Taylor, who was killed in March by Louisville police who entered her home unannounced in the middle of the night looking for suspects who were already in custody. The officers responsible have not been charged and are still on the job.

Her story is significant because she is not the only one. In death, Taylor joins an unfortunate sisterhood, including Atatiana Jefferson, Rekia Boyd, Kathryn Johnston, Sandra Bland, and Aiyana Stanley-Jones, to name just a few black women and girls killed by police violence.

The absence of Breonna Taylor from evangelical conversations about racial justice is indicative of a broader issue. Despite being the most religiously devout Christian demographic in the country, black women are underrepresented in almost every significant public facet of evangelical life, from black heroines in church history to black authors in Christian publishing.

In this moment, we are already starting to see an initial spike in attention toward female black voices. But the church cannot make meaningful progress toward racial justice without sustained, intentional efforts to acknowledge black women, our powerful witness, and our contributions to the body of Christ.

Overlooked but Seen by God

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