Christina Colón is former associate editor of Sojourners magazine. She rejoined the staff of Sojourners after previously serving as an editorial fellow and as assistant editor of sojo.net. 

A writer and editor, Christina believes in telling stories that are rooted in truth and imbued with hope. She embarked on her first editorial role at the age of 9 when she co-founded the short-lived, investigative neighborhood newspaper, The Pink Street Times. Since then, Christina has served as an editor at Global Press Journal, where she coached women reporters in more than 40 communities around the world, and as the communications manager of Washington Nonprofits. She has published work with The National Press Club Journalism Institute, the Faith & Money Network, and Sojourners. In 2018, she was selected to be a member of the Solutions Journalism Network’s #MeToo reporting cohort through which she wrote about sexual harassment in housing, an issue that has gone chronically underreported in the United States.   

Christina holds a degree in sociology and anthropology from Centre College and a certificate in editing from The Poynter Institute and the ACES. She is a certified trainer in workplace integrity through the Freedom Forum Institute and a member of the Solution Journalism Network's Journalist in the Classroom program, which connects solutions-oriented journalists with university students and educators. When not pedaling away on her DeskCycle, Christina enjoys long walks and tending to her growing flock of succulents. You can follow her on Twitter @CJaneColon.

Posts By This Author

Stormwater Pollution Is On the Rise. These People of Faith Are Trying to Change That

by Christina Colón 01-03-2019

The Chesapeake Bay in Md. Shutterstock. 

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

by Christina Colón, by Kayla Lattimore 12-10-2018

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

by Christina Colón 12-03-2018
Editorial credit: Rachael Warriner / Shutterstock.com.

Washington DC/USA- November 13, 2018:Student activists with the Sunrise Movement occupy Nancy Pelosi's office to demand that she and the Democrats act on climate change. Editorial credit: Rachael Warriner / Shutterstock.com.

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

by Christina Colón 11-21-2018
Review of 'She Preached the Word: Women's Ordination in Modern America' by Benjamin R. Knoll and Cammie Jo Bolin.

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

by Christina Colón 11-09-2018

The Many: Darren Calhoun, Hannah Rand, and Leslie Michele. 

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

by Christina Colón 11-08-2018
Introducing The Sojourners Fellowship Program

Former Sojourners interns in Washington, D.C. 

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

by Christina Colón 11-06-2018
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

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

by Christina Colón 10-31-2018
Photo by Sebastian Grochowicz on Unsplash

Photo by Sebastian Grochowicz on Unsplash

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

by Christina Colón 10-05-2018

BALTIMORE, MD - February 6, 2015: The Wheelabrator Baltimore incinerator in operation on a winter day, has been converting solid waste to electricity since 1985. Editorial credit: duckeesue / Shutterstock.com

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

by Christina Colón 09-07-2018

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

by Christina Colón 08-29-2018
Shutterstock

Shutterstock 

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

by Christina Colón 08-22-2018
Shutterstock

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

by Christina Colón 07-30-2018
Five questions for Rev. Bill Terry.

Illustration by Faith-Marie Zamblé

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.

Website: stannanola.org

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.

#InternsToo

by Christina Colón 07-25-2018
Interns are vulnerable to sexual harassment at work. Can churches model a better way?

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

by Christina Colón 07-09-2018

Image via Bekah Fulton/Sojourners 

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

by Rebekah Fulton, by Christina Colón 07-02-2018
Photos and Prayers from the Families Belong Together Multi-Faith Prayer Vigil

In Their Own Words: Voices from D.C.'s Families Belong Together March

by Christina Colón 07-01-2018

Protesters outside the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., June 30, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

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

by Christina Colón 05-24-2018

Image via "Pa'lante"/YouTube

“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.”

The Poor People's Campaign Is 'a Re-Consecration, Not a Commemoration'

by Christina Colón 05-14-2018

Image by Rebekah Fulton/Sojourners

“Today is Mother’s Day,” Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, said to the crowd. “A holiday established by women with a rich history of activism and resistance, who called for an end to violence and won. Standing in our nation’s capital, I have a question for our country: Is denying healthcare to mothers and their children a way to show love to mothers?"

Writing a Soundtrack of Reconciliation

by Christina Colón 05-02-2018
Urban Doxology uses the language of worship to reimagine community.

ON A TUESDAY EVENING in February, the band called Urban Doxology rehearses for an upcoming performance in Richmond, Va. They jump from song to song without sheet music or a printed set list.

“We who believe in freedom cannot rest,” they sing. “We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes.”

The group’s founder, David Bailey, watches. Dressed in a pink button-down shirt and a brown fedora, Bailey moves about the rehearsal space adjusting sound levels and giving occasional feedback.

Ten years ago, Bailey was leading music at a church in the suburbs when he and his wife felt called to join a budding multiethnic, economically diverse worshiping community in the Church Hill neighborhood of Richmond’s East End, where Patrick Henry gave his famous “Give me liberty or give me death” speech in 1775.

Over time, the community grew into a church, East End Fellowship. It found a home in the Robinson Theater, a brightly colored community arts center named after Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, a Richmond native and tap dancer.

Committed to the work of reconciliation, Bailey began leading cultural competency trainings less than four miles from Monument Avenue, a divided street peppered with statues of confederate leaders, including Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Jefferson Davis. Grounded in theology and history, the training provided members with a shared knowledge and language to talk about race. However, Bailey sensed it wasn’t enough.

He noticed the lack of leadership development for people of color going into vocational ministry. He had also grown wary of the available worship music repertoire. “It was like you either had old-school gospel or we had retuned hymns,” he said. East End Fellowship needed more leaders and new songs, ones that better reflected its growing multicultural congregation.

Bailey devised a single solution for the two challenges: a summer internship program dubbed the Urban Doxology Songwriting Internship. “We started the internship so we could develop the kind of leaders we wanted to see as people of color,” Bailey said. “But also so we could create the kind of culture and language for worship that shapes the imagination and deals with the pastoral concerns of the people in the community.”

In 2011, East End Fellowship welcomed its first class of diverse young musicians to Church Hill.