Speaker: Rev. Charles Rhodes

This year marks the 60th anniversary in my engagement with human and environmental justice work. My first activism was being on a human protest line demanding the closure of the City Dump in the heart of the black community in Roanoke Virginia when I was about 13. This call to justice is in my DNA and awaken by minister. Over the years, my engagement has been consistent and varied; whether fighting for racial, gender, sexual orientation/affectual preference, economic and environmental justice. Most recently, I was twice in El Paso Texas with the Poor Peoples Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival protesting the treatment of immigrants.

After a forty-year career in higher education administration and teaching, I returned to school earning a Master of Divinity, and am currently enrolled at the Interdenominational Theological Center working on the Doctor of Ministry in Africentric Community Building and Organizing. I am ordained by the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries (TFAM) and am process for ordination by the United Church of Christ. I served as the liaison from TFAM to the Poor Peoples Campaign, serving both on the steering committee for the Prophetic Council and the Participating Partners group. In 2018, I was arrested five times while doing justice work. I have received a number of awards for my work on equity and inclusion from higher education organizations. I am the 2020 recipient of the ACUHO-I award, the highest honor given by the Association of College and University Housing Officers-International for my contributions to the profession and in part for the work of inclusion for LGBTQ+ persons in higher education.

Adapting from our TFAM theme this year, I have been co-creating with God to build a world of inclusion and justice.