On Wednesday, March 31st female faith and community leaders joined the Parliament for a special observance of Women’s History Month, highlighting the critical role of female leadership in community healing and the pursuit of racial justice in Chicago. Hosted as part of the Together We Heal series, which was inspired by an initiative of the same name launched by the City of Chicago, that aims to build racial healing across Chicago and promote civic unity by encouraging Chicagoans to connect across lines of difference and support a collective conversation about our truth and our promise as a City.
• Rev. Dr. Marilyn Pagán-Banks (she/her/ella) a queer womanist minister, healer, writer, and life-long co-learner committed to the liberation of oppressed and colonized peoples, building power, and creating community. She currently serves as executive director of A Just Harvest, pastor at San Lucas UCC, and adjunct professor at McCormick Theological Seminary.
• Dr. Mary Nelson, President Emeritus of Bethel New Life a faith-based community development corporation, where she served for 26 years. She was Executive Director (2012-2015) of the Parliament of the World’s Religions. She is on the faculty of the ABCD (Asset-Based Community Development) Institute at DePaul University, and serves on the Board of Christian Community Development Association, where she recently spent almost a year as the interim Executive Director.
• Rev. Dr. Waltrina N. Middleton the 13th Executive Director of the Community Renewal Society, a 138 year-old faith-based organization that works with communities to address issues of racism and poverty. Rev. Middleton’s advocacy work addresses systemic cultures of violence and racism against marginalized communities from Charleston, SC and Cleveland, OH to Hebron, Palestine and Sao Paulo, Brazil. She is a griot poet, activist, vocalist, social critic, community organizer and healer committed to actualizing the vision of a Beloved community.