J is a queer theologian ordained by CWACM at an ecumenical Extraordinary Ordination in 2008.
I celebrate life as a gender non-conforming clergy person spending my self in the work of co-creating safe spaces for the full expression of human diversity as the executive director / minister of Rainbow Community Cares.
I held a sign last October in witness, standing on the street in downtown Raleigh with Chinese-American people protesting the broadcast of hate speech during an episode of ABC's “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” The sign, which said "DON’T LET KIDS GROW UP IN HATE," had been made by a protester in their own words, the vernacular of the people. The protest encouraged love and accountability.
The word, I believe, is the expression of love and justice, equality and compassion. It is repeated in the hope-filled words and actions of people who are marginalized, words that are reflected and magnified by the RCCares community. We listen and mirror that hope in our actions in the world. Under the leadership of the people who are directly affected by injustice and inequality, where love and compassion are wanting, this year I have joined public rallies against racism and mass incarceration, and in support of medical access for people who use street drugs, participated in protests against voter restrictions and poverty, marched through the streets for free public spaces like parks and walkways that have been privatized and for employment opportunities without discrimination, and walked the halls to stop in every legislative office to speak with lawmakers about the need for clean needle exchange programs and increased health care funding to end the AIDS pandemic.
How we work together, Church Within A Church Movement and Rainbow Community Cares, with other organizations and individual people, sets an order or way of working in the world that supports the marginalized and challenges the systemic oppression of capitalism as the way of life. The rules we agree to organize around and abide by must be in flux, differences of positions recognized. The discord and discomfort I have experienced in my collaborative work I used to motivate solutions that encompass rather than eliminate potential participants and a diversity of activities. For an overview of some of the organizations (with links to their web sites) with whom RCCares collaborate and the activities in which we participated in the past, please follow this link to RCCares web page, and click on "Gatherings" for the full 2 year report.
National report on hate violence issued by NCAVP
The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) has released its annual report documenting the high level of hate violence experienced by LGBTQ and HIV-affected persons in the United States in 2013. The report, Hate Violence Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and HIV-Affected Communities in the United States in 2013, is the most comprehensive report on this violence in the United States. It draws on data collected from 14 anti-violence programs in 13 states across the country and Puerto Rico.
Full report: Hate Violence Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and HIV-Affected Communities in the United States in 2013 (5.7MB, 142 pgs.)
Media release about the national report on Hate Violence Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and HIV-Affected Communities
J Zirbel of Rainbow Community Cares, Inc. and CWACM is on the NCAVP Governance Committee.