Teresa Rake ('05) has developed a lifetime of insight on the beauty and tensions of intercultural communication as the biracial daughter of a Bolivian mother and Caucasian American father. After graduating from Biola University, she moved into an intentional community in Seattle's richly diverse White Center neighborhood and discovered a church dedicated to serving the neighborhood. Then she volunteered for a year in Brazil through the Mennonite Central Committee, training families to address urgent needs related to water resources. Now back in Seattle, she continues her relationships in White Center as an elder in the local church and invests in the lives of their high school youth group.
In White Center, Teresa noticed that the kids, having grown up among varied minority and immigrant communities, engaged in honest conversatoins about race and shared experiences without usually offending each other. In contrast, she recently worked for an organization in a less diverse part of town and found that, despite the best of intentions, there were clear, awkward communication gaps resulting in stereotypes and misperceptions of the population that the organization desired to serve. She wondered: "How do we create space to talk about race and acknowledge our privilege without getting defensive?" Amid her growing desire to understand these gaps, Teresa participated in a Krista Foundation sponsored facilitator training for an intercultural communication tool called Photo Language, which helps participants both listen to others and share about their own experience of tender subjects such as race and privilege.