#SpeakersOfColor

By Stephanie Davis Smith, January 18, 2016

As a Southern white woman in an upper socioeconomic class, I feel a little awkward and clumsy talking about diversity from any real place of knowing. But isn’t it my job to think about diversity when I’m planning stories and images for this website and its magazine? Isn’t it my responsibility to make sure Connect Faith (formerly Rejuvenate) represents as many faiths, ethnicities, genders and cultures in our profession as possible? If not me, then whom? 

“Maybe conference planners of these nondiverse events are thinking, ‘Well, these speakers we’ve invited are… the ones who sell books and whose names are known.’ It’s a market-driven, not mission-driven, perspective.” —Helen Lee, blogger and Christian author, “The Missional Mom”

I asked myself these questions after #SpeakersOfColor started trending across social media, where I discovered religious media leaders and journalists like Helen Lee, Laura Turner and Jonathan Merritt leading the pack criticizing Christian conference planners for their all-white speaker lineups. However, true diversity isn’t only about color, but about religion, gender, age, background, disabilities and more.

Lee’s blog, “No More All-White Conference Lineups,” in Christianity Today really struck me as our team was putting together our Diversity Issue. She argues those in the dominant culture need voices from the margins of society more than the other way around. 

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