When Alyssa Aldape was fourteen, her family moved from San Antonio to India to do missionary work with the Banjara people. That was when Alyssa saw discrimination in a new light. The Banjara are a nomadic tribe in India and there is a social stigma against them in modern Indian society. Alyssa recalls seeing her parents—practicing Baptists from the other side of the world—motivated to work with this marginalized group. When she turned 18, Alyssa moved back to the United States to attend college in Birmingham, Alabama, where she lived for six years. Now, as a minister at Missions and Community Ministry at First Baptist Church of Dalton, Georgia, Rev. Aldape considers advocacy an integral part of her ministry.
“If you’re going to take scripture literally and believe that all of us are created in the image of God, then we must treat people as equals who were also created in God’s image,” she said. “I don’t think that means excluding people and refusing them service on the basis of religion. We are called to treat everyone with love as we would want God to love us. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. The golden rule is simple, but it is tried and true.”