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Rev. Melanie C. Jones, M.Div. is a womanist ethicist, millennial preacher, and intellectual activist. She is pursuing a Ph.D. in Ethics, Theology and Culture at Chicago Theological Seminary. 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 through womanist theological ethics, phenomenology and Black aesthetics. She is a graduate of Howard University and Vanderbilt University Divinity School. She lectures in humanities and religion at The Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, IL and American Baptist College in Nashville, TN. As a third-generation Baptist preacher, she is the youngest woman to be ordained at South Suburban M.B. Church in Harvey, IL., where she leads the Women’s Ministry.
Dr. Conā Marshall is an Assistant Professor of Africana Studies housed in the Religion and Philosophy Department and affiliated with the English Department at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, PA. She serves as the Chair of the developing Africana Studies Program at the same institution. Both her teaching and research interests focus on the constellating themes of African American rhetoric, womanist studies, and religion while her upcoming publications have also included these themes in conversation with Hip Hop artists and activists, Kanye West and Lauryn Hill. Her intellectual foci were nurtured at both Michigan State University (BA), (PhD) and Vanderbilt Divinity School (MTS). Conā uses her subjectivity as a Black woman growing up in with lower-class status in the small rural village of Cassopolis, MI as the lens that guides her work.
Damien Durr, A native of Cleveland, Ohio, graduate of American Baptist College (B.A.), and Vanderbilt University (M.DIV.) leads, designs, and facilitates various programs, initiatives and discussions surrounding literacy, childhood poverty, juvenile justice, economic empowerment, Black Church studies, and cultural criticism. An extension of his call to service and community building includes: Haynes Middle School Mentoring Program ,the Bishop Michael Lee Graves Leadership Academy, Abington Press, and as co-founder of Connect Media, he has co-produced numerous documentaries addressing topics addressing the role of the church and intellectual in the Black community. As a preacher, presenter, and lecturer, he has shared in different academic and ecclesial settings, as well as in the Juvenile Justice Center and Riverbend Maximum Security Prison with wide-ranging messages including: The Church At A Crossword Between Despair, Desire, And Deliverance:Intergenerational Ministry In The 21st Century Black Church; Life And Times Of JC:(Jesus Christ) Chronicles Of A God Chaser and Confessions Of A
Slumdog Messiah; The Messages, Images, And Influences Of Hip Hop On The Black Experience In America; And, Am I A Problem: Racial Profiling, Vigilante-Ism And Social Transformation.
He currently serves as the Youth and Young Adult Pastor at the Temple Church and CEO of DCD