Introducing a new project: ‘Intersected’

With the recent murder of George Floyd, race is on the front of many Americans minds. Protests have successfully created change, and new individuals are stepping into anti-racist work. 

After 200-plus attempts, we are still trying to make lynching a federal crime, but racism is now being recognized as a public health concern in several states. 

Last week, I was speaking with one of my best friends about the depths of racism, about policy, about wanting the aforementioned positive shift to continue. We hatched an idea to use this blog as a platform to help move conversations forward within our communities, and I reached out to a third friend to join the project. 

I’d love to introduce you to these intelligent women and our new project, Intersected, where we will be exploring the ways race touches all aspects of our lives. May the scholarship of Patricia Hill Collins help us see beyond the surface!

We seek to write educational and reflective pieces to reach our communities and speak on racial inequities. We will link to data, articles, and other sources while reflecting with you.

Introducing the writers

Katelyn Skye Bennett (Skye)

I’ll introduce myself briefly, as the holder of this blog site: I’m Skye, a white, female Christian passionate about refugee work, inspired by Kenyan music, and someone actively striving to be anti-racist. You may be familiar with me through my writings on this site. I value community, communication, compassion, and empathy.

I grew up in the suburbs in beautiful Connecticut. Many of the people around me in my youth were white, and many of them remain conservative evangelicals. That’s how I was socialized.

After graduating high school, I studied sociology and journalism at Wheaton College, where I learned a great deal about race and met one of my best friends, Layla, whom you now get to hear from in this project! 

After graduating, I spent time living in community with Congolese and Burundian refugees in Denver; moved around a bit; and now I reside in Chicago, IL, where I met Sophia at our Anglican church! With that, I’ll hand it off to her.

Sophia Porter

I’m Sophia, and I grew up in Chicago’s Hyde Park. I’m a product of the more uncommon biracial marriage pairing: my mom is Black and my dad is white. 

My childhood was filled with watching the Bud Billiken Parade from my cousin’s porch at 44th & King Drive, constantly letting people play with my hair, dancing to Motown just about every Friday night, and trips with my parents to check on their affordable housing units across Washington Park and Englewood. 

But it was also filled with filleting fish, Big Ten football, and walking along the seemingly endless creek at my family’s century-old farm in Rose Hill, Iowa, where the current population is less than 200 people.

No matter the place, though, every Christmas Eve ended the same: at midnight mass. I now go to the same Anglican Church as Skye, where its liturgical roots fill me with an incomparable sense of familiarity.

After graduating from a self-serious kindergarten through 12th grade school, I experienced my first school change when I went to Grinnell College in Iowa, where I met my husband on the first day of class. We platonically proofread each other’s papers until we started dating our sophomore year. At Grinnell, I studied History, Political Science, and basketball. Three years after graduating, my love for the game hasn’t wavered, but my commitment to staying in prime physical shape certainly has.

Each summer of undergrad, I returned to Chicago for an internship focused on juvenile justice system reform and helped my parents’ affordable housing business on the side. You can imagine my own surprise when I decided to come back to Chicago for good after graduation to work in a management program for an industrial supply company. Corporate job aside, the issues of race, opportunity, and community remain as close to my heart as always.

MaLaysia Mitchell (Layla)

I’m Layla, a passionate woman who cares deeply about self-actualization through Christ and creating equitable spaces in the world. I had a military upbringing, which exposed me to many cultures and experiences across the United States. However, I call south central Pennsylvania home.

By great faith I pursued my bachelor’s degree in anthropology at Wheaton College, where I met the lovely Skye. There I was able to explore the intersection of culture, religion, and science. I’ve been specifically interested in the relationship between Blacks and other ethnic minorities, liberation theology, and health disparities.

Since graduating, I’ve lived on the North and West sides of Chicago. I’ve enjoyed the Latin Dance scene, restaurant dived well past my heart’s content, and wandered through the countless county parks and beaches.

My life has been marked by transition. Over the past couple of years, I’ve worked as a consultant for a medical management company followed by serving as an intern at a federally qualified health center (FQHC) in the westside neighborhood of Lawndale. This year I will be pursuing an MPH at Johns Hopkins University. 

My greatest pleasure has been working and serving alongside health and spiritual practitioners to serve Black and Latino populations. I look forward to a life long journey of seeking faith and justice.  

Thank you.

Thanks for taking the time to get to know the writers! For each blog post in this project, the author will be listed at the top unless I, Skye, am writing, when it will be assumed as with all my other posts.

We hope that this series will, as Layla put it, “Validate ethnic minority experiences and inspire social change to make an equitable and just society through education and reflection.”

Thanks for subscribing to this site and following our new blog series! We look forward to engaging with you about the many ways race touches our lives and society.