“I got to about twelve minutes, and the Speaker said the lady needs to wrap up her speech. And I just kept talking over the Speaker. So then about a minute later, the Speaker cut my mic.”
First things first: Representative Renitta Shannon, who represents Georgia’s 84th district in the state’s legislature, was raised a PK—a preacher’s kid. In her father’s Primitive Baptist church—one so doggedly literal that it frowned upon 11 a.m. Sunday communion because the practice debuted at the Last Supper, that world-changing evening meal—she absorbed and sometimes questioned the contradictory. White Jesus floating above Black parishioners. The faithful women of the flock barred from the pulpit. Her father, a conservative pastor who took his children to protest George W. Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” policy. The imperative and power of “testifying” in the Black evangelical lexicon: speaking one’s truth—even, and especially, painful, self-implicating truths—before an audience of witnesses.