The goal of the Albert "Pete" Pero, Jr. and Cheryl Stewart Pero Center for Intersectionality Studies is to be a resource for the whole church: local congregations, synods, seminary communities, and the churchwide expression. The purpose of the Center is to bring together laity, students, theologians, and others to discuss and develop strategies that address basic questions and issues related to being an intersectional church.
Reflections from Dr. Linda Thomas on the renamed Albert “Pete” Pero, Jr. and Cheryl Stewart Pero Center for Intersectionality Studies
"The name change addresses the need for LSTC and theological schools in general to analyze overlapping oppressions of various marginalized groups that the term multiculturalism did not and does not address. Society discriminates against such people because they are outside what is considered “perfect” and “normal.” While multiculturalism is essential for authentic diversity in society, it does not address inequity and discrimination faced by minoritized peoples such as those just named.
Intersectionality, a term coined by legal theorist Kimberly Crenshaw in 1989, differs from multiculturalism. The goal of intersectionality is to empower those who face multiple, overlapping oppressions to claim their full humanity and flourish in culturally diverse societies even when said societies are still controlled by systemic white supremacy. Intersectionality involves power analysis as well, in that it asks who has power based on race, sexuality, able-bodiedness, gender identity, socio-economic status, etc.
In light of the Center’s new focus on Intersectionality studies, I wanted Dr. Cheryl Stewart Pero’s name added to move the Center into a new era and demonstrate the very intersectional awareness I hope the Center will analyze and embody. Dr. Albert “Pete” Pero and Dr. Cheryl Stewart Pero were equally yoked. With black women so often being left out of the picture, though, I wanted Dr. Cheryl Stewart Pero to be brought front and center. Therefore, the name change makes Dr. Cheryl Stewart Pero’s past work as Director of the Center visible for the long-term study and praxis of Intersectionality at LSTC."
Future goals for the Center include:
- to sponsor courses (offered through LSTC) each year for lay persons as well as for students
- to offer annual institutes that address different aspects of intersectionality
- to provide regular space, time, and place for discussing issues related to intersectionality