Keynote Speaker - Morning
Rev. Mariama White-Hammond was born in Boston, MA in 1979. The child of two preacher-
doctors, Rev. Mariama grew up with an understanding that God calls us all to serve our fellow man. Her activism began in high school and continued at Stanford University where she was involved in campus politics and in the arts. Rev. Mariama 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 Rev. 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. At PHH, she 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, PHH youth created artistic pieces on issues ranging from juvenile incarceration to funding for public transportation. They performed throughout Greater Boston in camps, homeless shelters, senior citizens homes and public transit stations as well as for leaders like the Mayor Walsh and Governor Patrick.
For her work in the non-profit sector Rev. 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, she stepped down as Executive Director to focus on her work within the church
In 2006 Rev. Mariama accepted her call to ministry in the AME Church. In April 2016, she was ordained in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. She serves on the ministerial staff at Bethel AME Church where she is the Minister for Ecological Justice and the Interim Youth Pastor. In May 2017 she graduated from Boston University School of Theology with a Masters of Divinity.
Rev. Mariama’s challenges 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. She is actively engaged on social justice issues ranging from immigration policy to fair wage issues. She is a leader in the Massachusetts Moral Revival, the local branch a national faith-based intersectional movement for justice led by Rev. William Barber. She was the MC for both the Boston Women’s March and Boston People’s Climate Mobilization.
Rev. Mariama is very committed to engaging the faith community, and particularly Black church on climate change and ecological justice issues. She speaks throughout the country and serves on both local and national boards and committees like the New England Grassroots Environmental Fund, Clean Water Action and Green the Church. In addition to her work at Bethel AME Church, Rev. Mariama is also a fellow with the Green Justice Coalition, a collaborative of people-of-color-led environmental groups.
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