Black History Month invites us into a posture of remembering the people and events that impacted our history not only in the past, but also as history is unfolding in the present. Here you will find a list of eleven Black educators and writers from a wide range of disciplines who are making history today. We are listening to them, learning from them, and encourage all to engage their work as you begin, continue, or deepen your journey of anti-racism.
Resmaa Menakem is a New York Times best-selling, artist, and psychotherapist specializing in the effects of trauma on the human body and relationships in Black families and Black society. His most recent book My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending our Hearts and Bodies, was published in September 2017 and is required reading in Dr. Chelle Stearns course Spirit and Trauma.
Cole Arthur Riley is a writer, liturgist, speaker seeking a deeply contemplative life marked by embodiment and emotion. She is the founder and writer of Black Liturgies, a project seeking to integrate concepts of dignity, lament, rage, justice, rest, and liberation with the practice of written prayer. She currently serves as the Content and Spiritual Formation Manager for a center for Christian studies at Cornell University called Chesterton House. In her work, she produces and curates content to guide others into deeper musings and embodiment of the faith. She was also a special guest on The Allender Center podcast for Advent in 2020.
Monica A. Coleman is a contemporary theologian associated with process theology and womanist theology. She is the Associate Professor of Constructive Theology and African American Religions at Claremont School of Theology and Associate Professor of Religion at Claremont Graduate University. Her most recent book Bipolar Faith reflects on her experience and process around faith, race, and mental health.
Brenda Salter McNeil is a dynamic speaker, teacher, author, and reconciliation leader. Her mission is to inspire and empower emerging Christian leaders to be practitioners of reconciliation in their various spheres of influence. As an Associate Professor of Reconciliation Studies in the School of Theology at Seattle Pacific University, Rev. Dr. McNeil directs the Reconciliation Studies program that prepares students to engage the culture around them as Christian reconcilers. Her recent book, Becoming Brave, offers a distinctly Christian framework for addressing systemic injustice. Listen to Rev. Dr. McNeil engage the topic of racial reconciliation on The Allender Center podcast.
Jemar Tisby (BA, University of Notre Dame; MDiv, Reformed Theological Seminary) is CEO of The Witness, Inc., an organization dedicated to the flourishing and equipping of Black Christians. He is also a co-host of the Pass the Mic podcast and the author of the New York Times bestseller, The Color of Compromise.
Kelly Brown Douglas is an African-American Episcopal priest, womanist theologian, and the inaugural Dean of the Episcopal Divinity School at Union Theological Seminary. She is also the Canon Theologian at the Washington National Cathedral. She wrote Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God which Dr. Ron Ruthruff uses in his course Word on the Street.
Austin Channing Brown is a New York Times best-selling author, speaker, and media producer providing inspired leadership on racial justice in America. She is the author of I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness and the Executive Producer of web series The Next Question.
Willie James Jennings teaches systematic theology and Africana studies at Yale Divinity School and is known for his award-winning book The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race. Dr. Chelle Stearns references him often in her course God, Gender and Sexuality, particularly his lecture on the Imago Dei.
Zachary Gabriel Green has 30 years of experience working with grassroots organizations, helping them unleash possibilities and reach their deeper potential. He has a PhD in Clinical and Community Psychology from Boston University, and Med in Counseling from Cleveland University. He is an executive coach, Professor of Practice, and the Associate Director of the Leadership Institute at the University of San Diego. Second year MACP students, with Dr. Roy Barsness, often engage his content and have attended his conference on anti-racism.
Pamela R. Lightsey is a womanist theologian and activist, ordained United Methodist elder, and national and international lecturer. She currently serves as Vice President for Academic Affairs at Meadville Lombard Theological School and Associate Professor of Constructive Theology. Dr. Lightsey is also the author of Our Lives Matter: A Womanist Queer Theology. You can watch Dr. Lightsey engage with a panel of speakers at our annual Stanley Grenz Lecture 2020.
Brian Bantum is the Neil F. and Ila A. Fisher Chair of Theology at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and the author of Redeeming Mulatto and The Death of Race. He is married to Gail Song Bantum, a Korean-American pastor at Quest Church in Seattle. Dr. Brian Bantum was also our keynote speaker at the annual Stanley Grenz Lecture 2020, which you can watch here.