Ravi Isaiah is a counselor and is director of pastoral care for a large regional hospital. He and his wife came to Charleston as Methodist ministers in the 1980s. They have two daughters and one grandchild.

“I understand what it is like to be excluded and thought less of because of something I can’t change. After 14 years in a country where everyone looked like me and spoke the same language, it was hard when we moved to the United States. I realized after coming here that there was something different about me. I was made fun of because I didn’t speak English well.

Also, I realized as I got to be a bit older that other things made me different. I became highly sensitized to it and wondered who saw me as different, and still liked me for who I am. 

When I was pursuing my divinity degree, I met a young woman, who is now my wife of 35 years. At the time, she lived with her aunt and uncle. They did not approve of her dating me. 

It was a difficult time and we broke up several times because the situation created conflict for her. Eventually, she knew that I was the right person and that we should be together. 

Quite recently, working as chaplain in the hospital, I had an experience with the family of a woman who passed away. When a family member asked for spiritual support, I offered prayer and waited with her for the rest of the family. One member of the family walked up to me, then stepped across the room. He told me to leave because he ‘didn’t like the color of my skin.’ That was a moment that was painful and hurtful and insulting, but I wasn’t angry. 

Everybody has compassion but we have to cultivate it and we can do miraculous things.”

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At YWCA Charleston we are dedicated to our mission: eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.

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