Women in the World Conference
Mark your Calendars!
Since 1985, the Shaw Center has hosted fan annual spring conference to explore experiences of women’s ministries in the church and society. The conference provides opportunities for women to hear women preach, share testimonies in ministerial and multicultural leadership, and develop networks of support with one another.
Rev. Dr. Traci West:
Rev. Dr. Traci C. West is the James W. Pearsall Professor of Christian Ethics and African American Studies at Drew University Theological School. She researches and writes about justice issues in church and society, including her most recent book, Disruptive Christian Ethics: When Racism and Women’s Lives Matter. Her current work focuses on intercultural, transnational gender justice. She is researching activist strategies to address gender-based violence against black women and girls in Ghana, Brazil, and South Africa and how we might learn from those strategies here in the United States. She has been an ordained minister in the United Methodist Church for over thirty years. As a scholar-activist her work has included the struggle for full equality of LGBTQ persons in the United Methodist Church, advocating for marriage equality in church and society, teaching in NJ state prisons, and co-editing (with Judith Plaskow) the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion.
Dr. Marla Frederick:
Marla Frederick is Professor of African and African American Studies and of the Study of Religion at Harvard University. She is the author of Colored Television: American Religion Gone Global(Stanford University Press, 2016), a work that addresses the rise of African American and female televangelists and their extraordinary influence in communities beyond the US, particularly in the Caribbean. Her first book Between Sundays: Black Women and Everyday Struggles of Faith (University of California Press, 2003) is a richly detailed ethnography exploring the complex lives and faith commitments of women in rural North Carolina. In 2008 her co-authored book, Local Democracy Under Siege: Activism, Public Interests and Private Politics, won the Best Book Award from the Society for the Anthropology of North America. She is currently completing a manuscript with anthropologists John Jackson and Carolyn Rouse, entitled Televised Redemption, which examines how Black Muslims, Christians and Hebrew Israelites make use of media in the strategic deployment of their racial, economic and religious views of social uplift. Frederick’s research interests include questions emerging from the intersections of religion, race, gender, media, politics and economics. She earned her Bachelors of Arts degree from Spelman College and her PhD in cultural anthropology from Duke University.
Rev. Dr. Gloria White-Hammond:
Gloria White-Hammond is the Co-Pastor of Bethel AME Church, Executive Director of My Sister’s Keeper, and a retired pediatrician from the South End community Health Center. She helped found Do the Write Thing, a creative-writing and mentoring program for high-risk adolescent females, as well as My Sister’s Keeper, a woman-led humanitarian and human rights initiative in Suadan. Dr. White-Hammond is a graduate of BU, Tufts University School of Medicine (MD, 1976), and Harvard Divinity School (MDIV, 1997).
Rev. Dr. LaTrelle Miller Easterling:
LaTrelle Miller Easterling currently serves as District Superintendent of Metro Boston Hope District of the United Methodist Church. Before this, Miller Easterling served as a deacon and elder in the AME Church, and in 2004 she graduated from BUSTH with an MDiv. She is a board member of the Anna Howard Shaw Center, and the Multi-Ethnic Center of the Northeast Jurisdiction. She is passionate about social justice and attempts to open the scriptures in a way that will encourage others to become passionate as well.
Mariama White-Hammond was born in Boston, MA in 1979. The child of two preacher-doctors, Mariama grew up with an understanding that God calls us all to serve our fellow man. Mariama’s activism began in high school and continued at Stanford University where Mariama was involved in campus politics and in the arts. She majored in International Relations, studied abroad in Chile, and focused on the political and economic development in Latin America and the Caribbean in the aftermath of dictatorships and/or civil wars.
In September 2001 Mariama became the Executive Director of Project HIP-HOP (Highways Into the Past – History, Organizing and Power), an organization she had been involved with the organization since high school. Project HIP-HOP is a youth-led that engages young people in critical thinking, artistic production and community organizing. At PHH, Mariama used the arts as a tool to raise awareness about social issues and help young people to find their voice and share their ideas with the world. She taught young people to draw on the history of their ancestors for wisdom and strength. During her time there, the organization performed for Mayor Walsh, Governor Patrick as well as in the streets of Roxbury, Chinatown, East Boston and throughout the city.
For her work in the non-profit sector Mariama has received numerous awards including the Barr Fellowship, the Celtics Heroes Among Us, The Roxbury Founders Day Award and the Boston NAACP Image award. In June 2014, Mariama stepped down as Executive Director to focus on her work within the church. She continues to serve the Boston community as a board member of FOCUS, Inc. (affordable housing) and UP Academy in South Boston & Dorchester (elementary and middle school). She serves in an Advisory role to ArtsEmerson, Green The Church, and Right to the City Boston VOTE!
Mariama is currently a licensed preacher in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. She is a member of the ministerial staff at Bethel AME Church in Boston and is a Masters of Divinity Student at Boston University School of Theology. She serves as a Green Minister at Bethel AME Church and as a member of the leadership team of Mass Interfaith Coalition for Climate Action. Her goal is to challenge the Christian church to embrace a more radical understanding of the life and mission of Jesus Christ. She believes that the church must be responsive to issues like street violence, mass incarceration, climate change, AIDS, food security, and human rights.
Ylisse B.W. is from Lakewood, WA and a graduate of Gonzaga University with a B.A. in Sociology and Religious Studies. She served an Americorps year with City Year Chicago where she worked as a tutor and mentor to high school students on the Near West side of Chicago. She is currently in her second year as an MDiv student at BUSTH. Her interests include women’s health and spiritual healthcare policy.
Topics vary each year, but conversation is always plentiful. This past year, we celebrated our 30th Anniversary, and had the opportunity to look back at the incredible speakers, participants, and questions found each year at the conference. When it first began in 1985, the conference was offered to provide female seminary students the opportunity to hear women preach for the first time and explore what it meant to be both a woman and a clergy member. Currently the conference serves to explore issues that pertain to women around the world, such as economic injustice, power dynamics, immigration, self-care among others. It is also a space for women to network with one another and gain encouragement and support in ministry and life. We are so thankful to all of you that continue to participate and share your experiences with us!