Meet Anti-Racism Writer L.A. Justice
And learn how a study of Black liberation theology led her to use her writing as protest
There are connections everywhere, and I found the work of L.A. Justice through other writer friends who shared it on Twitter. When I set out to find out more, I realized she was one of the active anti-racism writers on Medium. L.A.’s background as theologian gives her a different lens with which to approach issues around racism, and I think you’ll find her work interesting. Please meet L.A Justice.
L.A., what made you become an anti-racism writer?
I actually did not become an anti-racism writer until I went to seminary. I have a background in science and when I went to college and graduate school I was so focused on science, that this was all I studied (and some electives here and there). But after years of working in the pharmaceutical industry, I left and began teaching for a few years, but I still did not feel fulfilled, so I stopped teaching for a while also.
I decided to begin focusing on my faith journey and that is what led me to go to seminary. Initially I thought I wanted to be a pastor. But I went to a seminary that teaches theology from a social justice perspective, and when I began to learn about the intersectionality between racism and religion, it really intrigued me because I was unaware of how intertwined they are.
As I continued in seminary I realized I no longer wanted to be a pastor, so I chose to become a theologian instead. This was during the time of the murder of Trayvon Martin, and the policing killings of Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, and Eric Garner. These actions rocked me to my core because I was unaware of just how pervasive racism is. It was at this time that I immersed myself in the study of Black liberation theology, racial and social justice, and began to raise my voice in protest through various mediums, with writing being one of them. My writing is not only my protest, it is also my calling.
What response have you had?
I have had a wonderful response from readers. A lot of people are very appreciative of my work, and I appreciate the feedback that I receive from people. Of course, because of the subject matter, there are going to be people who do not like what I have to say, but that just continues to push me forward.
In relation to racism, what is your vision for the future?
This is a difficult question to answer. Of course, I want racism to be dismantled, and want equity for Black people, and equality for all people, but this requires a tremendous amount of work, and it requires more than just Black people to do the work. Black people did not create the constructs of race and racism. Therefore, it is not solely on Black people to do the work to dismantle it.
There are two main problems that will forever keep racism from being dismantled. One is that not enough white people actually want to dismantle racism because they benefit from its existence, whether or not they themselves are racist. The other problem is that not enough People of Color will come together to fight against racism to benefit all of us.
There are other groups who have benefitted from the work Black people have done to gain more rights for themselves. As Nikole Hannah-Jones explains in her article for the New York Times 1619 Project, “Black rights struggles paved the way for every other rights struggle, including women’s and gay rights, immigrant and disability rights.” And historically we have seen how other groups have gained rights that Black people are still fighting for.
What are your top three anti-racism articles you have written?
a) The Criminal Actions That Shaped the Founding of America – Most books and articles I’ve read refer to the actions of early colonists during chattel slavery and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade as sins. I wanted to explain why their actions constituted crimes, not just sins, even if they were legal at the time.
b) Should God Forgive Derek Chauvin? – I wrote this article because, as a theologian, I needed to wrestle with the Christian concept of forgiveness with regards to the heinous crime committed by Derek Chauvin against George Floyd.
c) The Audacity of Whiteness – Simply put, I think this one is my favorite because I put racist white people on blast.
Share one anti-racism article you've read written by someone else that resonated with you.
One of the anti-racism articles that I have read that resonated with me is Nikole Hannah-Jones’ article from the New York Times 1619 Project entitled, “Our democracy’s founding ideals were false when they were written. Black Americans have fought to make them true.” Her article boldly calls out the racist past of this country, and through the backlash it is currently receiving from white racist conservatives, has subsequently revealed what Black people have already known to be true – that white people do not want to own up to the racial violence and oppression they have committed, and continue to commit, against Black people in this country.
© Sharon Hurley Hall, 2021. All Rights Reserved.