A Spirited Leap Into True Identity

Karriyma Bintu-Raqib, Dance Instructor for Because Justice Matters

Karriyma Bintu-Raqib, Dance Instructor for Because Justice Matters

Identity is huge, and for a large portion of my life, I walked in the wrong one. I believed lies that I was unloved, unwanted, and far too broken for repair. I was a victim of child abuse and allowed that to define me and, even worse, justify my sin. After years of burying my pain and masking my depression with false happiness, I felt lost and in desperate need of a savior. Then I met Christ, and as cliché as it may sound, I’ve never been the same! God so clearly spoke TRUE identity over me and started healing my heart.

The Lord gave me a love for the arts to use as an outlet of self-expression. Emotions that had been bottled up were now being written out, sung, and expressed through dance. Over the years, God has given me a passion for using the arts to share God’s truth and bring healing to women and young girls who don’t yet know the love of the Father. I’m sure you can imagine my deep love for the vision and heart behind Because Justice Matters.


Being an intern with BJM and serving alongside women who share a similar heart for women and girls has been one of the most life-giving experiences I’ve had. I not only have the privilege of sharing my love of dance with our young girls, but reminding them of their worth and value in Christ Jesus while doing so. It hits home, because when I look at our girls, I see myself. Designed for greatness, but surrounded by opposition. With our dancers being at such a vulnerable and impressionable age, I’ve come to learn just how crucial it is to speak God’s truth of identity over them.

The way God has used the dance ministry at BJM to bring healing and restoration blows my mind. As a dance teacher, I’ve come to understand that I am ill-equipped for the job, and that it’s Christ alone in me who makes me qualified. I’ve seen Him so beautifully recycle the gifts He’s given me and the staff to bring Himself glory. I feel honored that the Lord was gracious in sending me to a place where I’ve been challenged, encouraged, and overall stretched as a choreographer and leader. 


Ultimately, our mission is deeper than dance. I saw very quickly the priorities of the ministry to deepen the faith walks of our young dancers, rather than a focus on dance skill development. These precious ones leave dance practice knowing that they are dearly loved and delighted in by God…and that’s our heart. He has provided a safe place for them to feel loved, be encouraged, and grow in their relationship with Him.

I get to play a small role in something so much bigger. Making an eternal difference in the direction of a child’s life is huge! What an honor it’s been serving in the heart of the Tenderloin, alongside the powerful work that God is doing through Because Justice Matters.

BJM is proud to showcase a new performance presented by The Tribe, our small group of dancers, at our Gala on September 9th. 

Click here https://www.eventbrite.com/e/invest-in-what-matters-bjms-4th-annual-gala-tickets-26213790152?aff=eac2 to get your tickets now!

Tate Callejas