Christina Colón is Assistant Web Editor at Sojourners. She joined the web staff after serving as an editorial assistant of Sojourners magazine from 2017-2018. She holds a B.A. in Sociology and Anthropology from Centre College and a Certificate in Editing from the Poynter Institute for Media Studies.
It was Roald Dahl’s Matilda, given to her at the youthful age of 6, that fueled Christina’s passion for justice and storytelling. Since then, she has designed educational study guides for the American Shakespeare Center, authored a book with the children of The Cabbage Patch Settlement House, and served as an ambassador of the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty. In her current role, she works to weave quantitative and qualitative data into meaningful stories (and tweets).
A Florida native, Christina enjoys sunshine and iced tea. When not at her computer, Christina can be found listening to a podcast, reading in a local park, or making scrambled eggs. You can follow Christina on Twitter @CJaneColon.
Posts By This Author
The Peace Poets are Expanding the Circle
BEFORE THEY ARE hip-hop performers, educators, and poets, the Peace Poets are a family. “It’s been a development of a brotherhood,” Frank Antonio López (aka Frankie 4) says of the group’s formation. López and Abraham Velazquez Jr. (aka A-B-E) met when they were 3 years old. Enmanuel Candelario (aka The Last Emcee) was introduced to the pair in grade school and introduced to Frantz Jerome (aka Ram 3) in high school. Candelario would go on to meet Luke Nephew (aka Lu Aya) at Fordham University in New York.
Much of the Peace Poets’ foundational development occurred in Harlem at Brotherhood/Sister Sol, a leadership and educational organization for black and Latinx youth. It was there, López says, that the Peace Poets were “politicized through art.”
When Your Sexual Harasser Has Keys to Your Apartment
A murkiness in the numbers, combined with a lack of training and awareness, has made sexual harassment in housing a widespread, yet under the radar, problem. But local housing authorities are working to combat the problem on the ground. Their efforts could serve as a model for other communities.
Stormwater Pollution Is On the Rise. These People of Faith Are Trying to Change That
Stormwater pollution is the fastest growing source of pollution in the Chesapeake Bay watershed—a 64,000 square mile drainage basin that sprawls across parts of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, New York, and Washington, D.C. One of the contributors: religious congregations.
Nearly 150 Climate Activists Arrested in Mass Demonstration for Green New Deal
More than 1,000 young adults risked arrest Monday in Washington, D.C. by flooding the offices of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), and Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.). It’s the second time this winter that the Sunrise Movement has taken to the capitol in what Sunrise Movement co-founder Varshini Prakash referred to as part of a concentrated effort, “[to] build policy support and people power” around a Green New Deal.
From Grassroots to Government: A Climate Assessment Presents a Moral Opportunity
A recent U.S. climate assessment made headlines last week for its conclusion that the victims of climate change are no longer some future generation, but us — and we’re feeling the effects now.
The Power of the Pulpit
WHEN I WAS IN COLLEGE, I asked one of my faith leaders at the time why no women were in positions of authority in that ministry. He said that the male leaders’ wives were always available to serve as mentors. Besides, he added, if they hired a woman, she would just get married and quit to raise a family.
I left, I fumed, and then I read Sarah Bessey’s Jesus Feminist, which told me that not only could women serve as pastors and leaders in the church, but that Jesus wanted them to.
If that were so, I wondered, why had I encountered so few female faith leaders?
Benjamin R. Knoll and Cammie Jo Bolin have provided an answer. In She Preached the Word: Women’s Ordination in Modern America, Knoll and Bolin examine why women still make up just 15 percent of congregational clergy.
'The Many' Creates Liturgies that Leave Room for Lament
The Many is an indie folk/gospel, liturgically-grounded worship band that creates music for people to sing together. Assistant Web Editor Christina Colón spoke with producer Gary Rand, manager and writer Lenora Rand, and lead singer Darren Calhoun, to learn more about how The Many is creating liturgies that speak to issues of injustice and leave room for lament.
New Name, Same Commitment to Justice and Community
More than 30 Augusts have come and gone, and nearly 300 people have held the title of being a Sojourners intern. This year, it was announced that the 34th cycle would be the last to hold that name.
Report on Workplace Diversity Shows Who Holds the Power ... and Where
In two stunning interactive visualizations, individuals are able to examine workplace diversity state by state - controlling for factors such as race, sex, and occupation. One visualization ranks states according to representation, with red and green bars showing what percent under and overrepresented certain populations are in relationship to their presence in the labor force. The other visualization allows users to compare states - giving a clear breakdown of representation at each occupation level.
More Than 100 Faith Groups Denounce Trump's Environmental Protection Rollbacks
More than 100 faith groups sent a letter to President Trump on Tuesday denouncing the administration's rollbacks of environmental regulations.
“At the outset of this current administration, faith communities outlined to the Administration our shared principles of stewardship, sustainability, justice, and dialogue, as well as environmental policy recommendations that adhered to these principles,” the letter read. “Unfortunately, these principles and policy recommendations have not been heeded.”
Faith Communities to Carry Message of Climate Justice from Pews to Policy Makers
This weekend, more than 80 faith communities in Maryland will lift up climate justice as part of the fourth annual “Climate in the Pulpits / on the Bimah / in the Minbar” event. Jointly organized by Interfaith Power & Light (DC.MD.NoVa) and the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, the event is a multi-faith effort to carry the message of creation care from the pews to policy makers.
When the Freedom to Breathe Is a Privilege
Organized by a number of local and national partners, the Freedom to Breathe tour bus is a “vehicle for social change” and moving art installation. The bus has been on the road since Aug. 25, capturing the stories of climate leaders and organizers in impacted communities across the United States and sharing them out under the hashtag #FreedomToBreathe.
New Study Puts Hurricane Maria Death Count at Nearly 3,000
A recent study reveals that nearly 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricane Maria. The researchers at George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health adjusted for various factors, including the some 241,000 residents who were displaced from the island. In the end, the number of deaths that could be directly or indirectly attributed to Hurricane Maria was reported at an estimated 2,975 - a number that stands in stark contrast to the previously reported 64.
Trump's Clean Energy Plan Replacement a 'Death Sentence' for Thousands, Say Faith Leaders
The Trump administration’s proposed replacement, known as the Affordable Clean Energy proposal or “ACE,” would grant individual states more flexibility in how to regulate and reduce emissions. According to the EPA Fact Sheet, it would also “promote investments to make coal plants cleaner, modern, and more efficient.”
A Holy Response to Urban Violence
Bio: Bill Terry is rector of St. Anna’s Episcopal Church in New Orleans. In 2007, he started to list the names of individuals recently murdered in the city on a board outside of the church’s building. The church sees the “murder board” as a public memorial, a way to humanize victims of urban violence.
1. What inspired the murder board? When we talk about murder in the United States, we tend to talk in terms of numbers. Cities talk in terms of a murder rate, which is dehumanizing. We thought we would start listing the names of murder victims rather than numbers. We used to have the names printed, but the printers couldn’t keep up, so we started writing them down. We list the names, the age, and whether the individual was shot or stabbed. That has a visceral impact and, in and of itself, tells a story. There’s nothing glorious about it. It’s a holy site, and people have a holy response to it. Through the board, we began to humanize the deep loss in our city.
2. What impact does the board have? It’s hard to be a Republican or a Democrat when looking at the murder board. It’s hard to be accusing and making aspersions against a race, community, or economic class. More than 2,000 names are on that board alone. They are [people murdered] from 2007 to 2012 in a city of less than 500,000. And during that period, our population got as low as 350,000. I had a police officer who came here and noticed the permanent memorial. He asked if it was all the murders in the state, and I said no, it’s [murders] in New Orleans. He was shocked. Then he went over and started reading the board from left to right. He spent about 20 minutes just slowly walking along the board. He walked back to me, very quiet, tears in his eyes. He said, “I counted three guys I went to high school with. I had no idea, Father.” Then he quietly walked away. That’s the transformative power of our public exhibition.
THE #METOO movement against sexual assault and harassment has empowered many people in the workplace to speak out. But there’s one group still fighting to be heard: interns—the semi-skilled students and recent graduates seeking supervised practical experience in a profession and who form the backbone of many government, nonprofit, and religious organizations.
In March, Vox caused an uproar when it released copies of a nondisclosure agreement required of all congressional interns. Notably missing was an “exception for incidents of harassment, discrimination, or abuse.” The Washington Post reported that interns who came forward about sexual harassment in California, Oregon, Nebraska, and Massachusetts all had their cases dismissed, “leaving them in legal limbo.”
The absence of legal workplace protection is only one reason interns are dissuaded from reporting harassment. A second is lack of power. Internships are generally temporary and unpaid. Interns fall in a hierarchical gray area that leaves them particularly susceptible to exploitation and harassment.
In a USA Today commentary headlined “Dear interns, we’re sorry. We should have warned you about sexual harassment,” Jill Geisler of Loyola University Chicago wrote: “We’ve learned that workplace sexual misconduct is about abuse of power. And those with the least power are the most vulnerable.”
The Bible is full of cries to protect the vulnerable. It warns against seeking power over others. Yet Anglican Bishop Peter B. Price notes that “abuse of power is one of the greatest temptations for Christian leaders”—the consequence of which is not just scandal, “but the loss of a unique corporate authority, achieved by mutual self-giving.”
Q&A: Johnnyswim and Drew Holcomb On Justice, Church, and Making Music
Ramirez: I think like what you said, it's taking the side of the broken, the beaten, and the defeated. It’s knowing that when you say, “You just gotta lift yourself up by the bootstraps,” that not everybody has boots to be lifted up by. Justice looks like that. It looks like taking the side of the one being accused, the one being pummeled, not even just today, but throughout history because there are whole people groups who have been pummeled. Justice looks like giving people a taste of a true Jesus. Jesus would go to the woman at the well even if all of culture said not to, even if people looked down on him, even if it might have been bad for his reputation, that’s what he did. So often we like to tell good stories and take pictures of refugees and orphans somewhere else, but we very much like to ignore the causes that we should be fighting for here. For me, that's what justice looks like.
Families Belong Together
In Their Own Words: Voices from D.C.'s Families Belong Together March
Tens of thousands gathered in Lafayette Park in Washington, D.C., Saturday to call for an end to family separation. Braving a scorching 95-degree heat, people had come from all over the country to attend the Families Belong Together event. Organizers had three demands for President Trump: Reunite families, end family detention, and reverse the “zero tolerance” policy.
'Pa'lante' Is an Ode to Puerto Rico's Future
“Pa’lante is a very Puerto Rican mindset,” Kristian Mercado Figueroa, who directed the music video, said. “Be it a family struggling to stay together, or recovering from the hurricane, the Puerto Rican people are strong and they will always stand and move forward.”