Why Laura Shennum chose to participate in the Living Into Inclusivity dialogues
I grew up the daughter of a police officer in small rural towns in Central California. My childhood was sheltered and protected. We lived paycheck to paycheck and moved a lot. I have experienced homelessness and poverty. I know what it is like to be extremely sick and not have health insurance. I also know due to the privilege I have as a white, heterosexual, married female I was able to get out of those situations.
Some came from my own determination to be independent and growing up with the messages I could do anything. Some came from educational opportunities. I was the first person on my Mom’s and Dad’s side of the family to earn a college degree. Some came from knowing the right people to get a job. Most of it happened because of my privilege.
Now, I am the mother of 3 children and the minister of a local congregation. I continue to benefit from my privilege. However, I also make sure I use that privilege to benefit others. In raising my children and leading my congregation, I believe strongly in our connection to each other as well as the responsibility that connection brings. Right now, we have so many walls and defenses up in our community and society. I try to help break those walls and defenses down to help people see each other as fellow humans.
My hope for this endeavor is to learn where I still have walls and defenses to break down as well as provide opportunities for others to see where their walls and defenses might be. By keeping an open heart and curious mind, I look forward to the journey ahead. May it bring our community healing, hope, and belonging.