Tell us about yourself: who are you and what do you do?
I’m Rev. Laurie Lyter Bright – mom of two, writer, Presbyterian (USA) minister, doctoral candidate in education, non-profit executive director, and activist. All of that keeps me busy, but in my free time, I like to feed my curiosity about the world by traveling with my husband and little ones!
How does your research or your work connect to activism? Be sure to mention your proposed volume for the Routledge Focus series and your PhD research, as well as work you may be doing in the church.
Both my personal life and professional work center on the celebration of humanity in its fullness, and a desire to create a more just world. The focus of my dissertation is on the church as a site of co-creation of rape culture, and as a potential site of disruption of rape culture, using pre-existing pedagogical pathways in the church. My proposed volume for the Routledge Focus series is examining the prophetic nature of #BlackLivesMatter and the #MeToo movement. While my desire to create a world without rape culture has been an inherent part of my work since high school, my newer role as a mom (my daughters are two and two months) has only increased my desire to co-create a world that honors women and respects the autonomy and humanity of all people.
Why is activism important to you and what do you hope to achieve between now and the 16 Days of 2020?
Activism matters to me because it is a chance to use the privilege and platforms I have access to to amplify the experiences of others, to draw attention to spaces of injustice, and to encourage the complacent toward involvement. As a pastor, I advocate in my preaching and teaching, particularly examining the radical inclusivity practised by Christ. As a non-profit executive director of an interfaith organization in Israel and Palestine, I practice activism by challenging the assumptions in the U.S. of a complex and frequently misunderstood part of the world. And as a scholar, I am an activist in my writing and research. In the next year, I hope to complete my dissertation, stretch my own knowledge and understanding, and invite new communities into conversation about the ways we historically/currently support rape culture and the ways we can help dismantle it instead.