A monthly profile highlighting emerging voices doing incredible work in ministry, the academy and in social justice work.
Millennial Womanism is an emerging concept developed by Liz S Alexander and Melanie C Jones that seeks to draw upon a unique womanist epistemological and methodological framework utilizing a millennial lens. Rooted in the work of womanism in religious studies, millennial womanism centers the voices of Black women of faith and justice born between the years of 1980-2000. Millennial womanism offers a contemporary framework that makes space intentionally for doing womanist work in the age of social media, black lives matter and say her name movements, trap music, mass incarceration, religious pluralism, a kaleidoscope of gender and sexual identities, and multi-dimensional realities of oppression (i.e. at the crossways of race, gender, sexuality, class, abilities, religion, etc.), to name a few.
With intent to build upon the work of our BELOVED womanist foremothers, the core concerns of millennial womanism include:
LIZ S. ALEXANDER MA, MSW is a womanist practitioner, social justice advocate and change agent. Liz is the founder of She Dreams of Freedom, a national consulting firm that provides services to the private, public and government sector serving girls in the criminal and juvenile justice system between the ages of 13-24. SDF specializes in trauma, positive youth development and gender specific and responsive services. Liz is a member of the expert advisory committee to end the incarceration of girls in NYC as well as a member of the LGBTQI/GNC juvenile justice workgroup at the Administration of Children’s Services (ACS) of New York City. In 2015, Liz was recognized as a 40 under 40 Young Woman Professional Leader by Demoiselle 2 Femme, a trailblazing organization serving girls on the South Side of Chicago, and in 2016, she was named as a “Woman of Influence” by the YWCA of New York City. In 2017 Liz received the Harambee Award from the National Association of Black Social Workers (NABSW) for exemplary Social Work service. Liz is the Co-Curator of the #MillennialWomanism editorial forum alongside Melanie C. Jones hosted on the recently launched Black Theology Project (btpbase.org) site developed by Jamye Wooten of Kinetics. Liz received a Masters of Social Work with a focus in Trauma and Violence from the University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration and a Masters of Religious Leadership with a concentration in Social Transformation from the Chicago Theological Seminary. Liz received her Bachelors of Arts degree from Spelman College where she majored in Sociology.
REV. MELANIE C. JONES is a womanist ethicist, millennial preacher, and intellectual activist. She earned a B.A. in Economics and Political Science from Howard and a Master of Divinity with a certificate in Black Church Studies from Vanderbilt University Divinity School. Currently, Melanie is a Doctor of Philosophy candidate at Chicago Theological Seminary studying ethics, theology and culture. Her doctoral dissertation entitled “Up Against a Crooked Gospel: Black Women’s Bodies and the Politics of Character in Religion and Society” interrogates Black women’s body politics and moral formation utilizing approaches in womanist theological ethics and Black aesthetics. For her distinguished research, Melanie was named a 2017-2018 Doctoral Dissertation Fellow by The Louisville Institute.
Rev. Melanie is a thinking woman of faith advocating for social transformation in the Church, classroom and global community. She lectures as an Adjunct Instructor at American Baptist College in Nashville, TN and The Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, IL teaching upper-level face-to-face and online courses in humanities, theology, ethics, gender/sexuality studies and writing. Melanie is the Co-Curator of the #MillennialWomanism editorial forum alongside Liz S. Alexander hosted on the recently launched Black Theology Project (btpbase.org) site developed by Jamye Wooten of Kinetics. Melanie’s writings and sermons are featured in popular digital and print publications including The Feminist Wire, Chicago Theological Seminary Challenge & Response Magazine, The Forum for Theological Exploration Blog, Alpha Kappa Alpha Ivy Leaf Magazine, Sunday School Publishing Board — National Baptist Convention, USA, Urban Ministries, Incorporated, Urban Faith App and ROHO.
Rev. Melanie, a third-generation Baptist preacher, is the youngest ordained clergywoman at South Suburban M. B. Church in Harvey, IL., where she serves as Associate Minister and leads the women’s ministry. Rev. Melanie is an emerging millennial voice with a global public platform teaching in lecture halls and preaching in pulpits across the globe, traveling to cities in North America, Australia, Bahamas, Bermuda, Ghana, New Zealand and United Arab Emirates.