Elaina is honored to be a part of the Sojourners community. Through her previous experiences as a youth minister in the South Bronx and a community organizer for various nonprofits and campaigns—including Campaign for Change, the Jubilee U.S.A. Network, and Women’s Action for New Directions—Elaina comes to Sojourners with a passion for all things theological and political.
She received her bachelor's degree from Capital University, where she studied international relations, sociology, and music. She holds a master's in theological studies from Wesley Theological Seminary, as well as a master's degree in international peace and conflict resolution from American University.
Elaina believes the best of each of us is born in community. As a former editor of Sojourners magazine, she enjoys hearing other people's stories and weaving them together to share the good news—God's story of restoration, redemption, and reconciliation for the world.
Elaina resides in northern Virginia with her boxer-pit Oscar. She is an avid singer, Zumba enthusiast, boxer, and novice farmhand. She can also be found reading several books at a time and rarely finishing any of them.
Posts By This Author
The World As It Should Be
While I mourn how this election threatens to erode the progress that’s been made over the last eight years, I am reminded this is not our whole story as a nation nor as citizens of the kin-dom of God. There is a better story yet to be written.
Storytelling is at the heart of all movements. If we have ears to hear and eyes to see, stories can inspire us to listen deeply and to compassionately respond to the voices and lived experiences of those on the margins of society.
Bresha’s Story, Our Story
Over the last few months, Bresha’s plight has gained national support as advocates call for her immediate release. Accused of killing her father after enduring a lifetime of abuse, prosecutors have threatened to charge Bresha as an adult, which could potentially leave her in prison for the rest of her life.
For me, Bresha’s story hits way too close to home.
We Won’t Wait: Women Leading from the Margins in the 2016 Election
There is an unmistakable energy when women come together. In my experience, a boldness and brilliance fills the space in rich and surprising ways when women are gathered.
Such was the case as more than 1,500 women from across the country attended the recent We Won’t Wait summit in Washington, D.C., to organize and strategize for a better life for their families and communities. But this was no ordinary conference.
Equal in Faith
It’s 2016, yet patriarchy is alive and well across faith traditions.
Welcome to this special conversation with Jewish, Christian, and Muslim women on the unique challenges and opportunities of women’s religious leadership.
It's On Us, Too: An Open Letter to Theological Schools About Sexual Assault
According to the Broken Silence survey (commissioned by Sojourners and IMA World Health), faith leaders play a key role in preventing and responding to such violence. Though a majority of respondents reported feeling ill-equipped to deal with issues of sexual and domestic violence in their congregations and communities, an overwhelming majority of faith leaders (81 percent) indicated that they would take appropriate action to reduce such violence if they had the training and resources to do so.
This gap is precisely why seminaries and divinity schools are essential to addressing domestic abuse and sexual assault. Your theological schools can and must take the lead on educating more faith leaders about sexual and gender-based violence.
7 Ways to End Violence Against Women
Whether you’re intimately involved in this struggle or just getting started, there is a place for you. Rise up and put your faith into action to end violence against women. Here are 7 ways to join the revolution.
How We Are All Connected
As an Asian-American activist, I must constantly negotiate what it means to be a woman faith leader – all while challenging misconceptions of the “model minority myth” and the “otherization” of my identity in a dominant culture that often sees anything other than whiteness as foreign, exotic, or suspect. And yet, I know that my experiences do not pale in comparison to the hardships of those experienced within the greater sisterhood.
There's Domestic Violence in the Bible. Let's Talk About It.
Bruised and battered in body and spirit, many victims of domestic violence are looking to faith communities for guidance. We must do more to make sure our congregations are safe spaces for survivors of abuse. And that starts with naming the sin of domestic violence in our churches and examining how our own sacred texts have been misinterpreted to condone such abuse.
This October—as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month—we’re featuring a new online series called Troubling Texts: Domestic Violence in the Bible. With thought-provoking commentary from experts, pastors, and emerging scholars, we'll take a hard look at how scripture has been used to justify domestic violence.
One in Three...and Me
Clergy and other people of faith often serve as “first responders” to sexual and domestic violence. But we at Sojourners have heard story after story of faith leaders who blame and shame sexual assault survivors, of domestic violence survivors who are battered at home and bullied in church, of clergy who value purity and the sanctity of marriage over protecting the image of God in each individual person. It’s time for theological schools to take the lead on educating faith leaders about sexual and domestic violence. Join me in this effort by supporting our Back2School Challenge.
State Department Unveils 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report
Today the U.S. State Department released the 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP), which evaluates the efforts of 188 countries to combat human trafficking. This year’s report emphasizes the risk of human trafficking in supply chains and the prevention of forced labor and sexual exploitation in the global marketplace.
A Call to Prayer: Make Violence Against Women History
Violence against women and girls is not only a “women’s issue,” but a human rights issue that affects all of us. We are indeed “caught in an inescapable network of mutuality,” as Dr. King said, “Whatever affects one directly, affects us all indirectly.” The abundant life that Jesus offers is deeply connected to the well-being of others. (John 10:10)
For men and women to experience reconciliation and wholeness, we must prayerfully work together for gender justice. Download our free prayer calendar. It’s full of facts and prayer requests to help you put your faith into action to end violence against women.
Share it during Women’s History Month with your sisters and brothers, your sons and daughters. Pray through the calendar as part of your Lenten journey. Encourage your friends and faith community to raise their voices to make violence against women history.
Together, through prayer and action, we can imagine a new way forward for both women and men—for the flourishing of all God’s children.
Way to #RiseForTheRaise!
Many thanks to our friends and supporters for rallying together to #RiseForTheRaise this Valentine's Day!
As part of One Billion Rising, we joined activists in more than 170 countries around the world to call for economic empowerment and an end to violence against women. #RiseForTheRaise supporters sent letters to Congress calling for pay equity, while others took to social media with our signs to show their love for women.
We are grateful for all of those who took the time to put their love into action this Valentine's day. Check out this Facebook gallery featuring some of our outstanding #RiseForTheRaise supporters.
V-Day: It's Time to #RiseForTheRaise
If, as Cornel West affirms, “justice is what love looks like in public,” then Valentine’s Day should focus on fairness and equality for all.
That’s why Sojourners is celebrating Valentine’s Day with One Billion Rising, a global day of action to end violence against women. Through the #RiseForTheRaise campaign, we’re joining the fight for pay equity to help put an end to gender-based violence.
Unfair wages and economic injustice often leave women vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. When women, who make up two-thirds of the world's poor, are unable to meet their basic needs and support themselves and their families, they become at risk for all forms of violence—sexual, physical, emotional, and psychological.
Many women in search of economic survival fall prey to human trafficking, while others without financial resources remain in abusive relationships. Economic empowerment is key to breaking the gender trap of women, violence, and poverty.
In the U.S., women continued to be devalued. When women are paid less than men for equal work, we deny women their sacred worth and contribute to a culture that perpetuates violence against women and girls. It’s time to #RiseForTheRaise!
In God’s economy, all are created equal and should be treated fairly. It’s time for people of faith to rise up and close the gender pay gap.
Report: Vatican Investigation Ends with Praise of U.S. Nuns
The much anticipated final report of a Vatican-ordered investigation of U.S. nuns was released today without controversy. The report ends a process launched six years ago under Pope Benedict XVI through the leadership of Cardinal Franc Rodé, the former head of the Vatican office of religious life, who raised concerns of “secular mentality" and a "feminist spirit" among U.S. women religious communities.
REPORT: Bob Jones University Failed to Support Sexual Abuse Victims for 40 Years
Rolling Stone is not the only one throwing sexual abuse victims under the bus these days. An alarming report released today reveals that Bob Jones University, a historically fundamentalist Christian college, failed to support nearly 40 victims of sexual abuse over four decades.
In January 2013, Bob Jones University hired GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) to conduct an independent investigation of the college’s response to sexual abuse allegations.
The report states that BJU officials were not adequately prepared or trained to counsel victims appropriately, often treating victims as blameworthy for their abuse or sexual assault experienced during childhood or adulthood.
In a video statement recorded yesterday, BJU President Steve Pettit issued an apology to students and faculty:
On behalf of Bob Jones University, I would like to sincerely and humbly apologize to those who felt they did not receive from us genuine love, compassion, understanding, and support after suffering sexual abuse or assault. We did not live up to their expectations. We failed to uphold and honor our own core values. We are deeply saddened to hear that we added to their pain and suffering.
Faith Groups Take a Stand for Global Education
People of faith can play an important role in helping each child of God realize his/her potential. Join us in standing up for education by signing the #UpForSchool petition, an urgent appeal to get every child into school—no matter who they are or where they are born.
When we invest in schooling for all children, lives are transformed for generations to come. For example, closing the education gap for girls reduces child marriage rates, leads to more income later in life, and lowers the rate of HIV/AIDs. Access to equal education is not only essential to building stronger economies and a healthy society, but it honors the God-given dignity of children.
My mom would agree: education is empowerment. It provides freedom and a better future—and no child in the world should be denied it.
Let us all pray that every child can go to school.
And let’s join other faith communities to make sure it happens—sign the petition now.
An Interview with Elaina Ramsey, Sojourners' Women and Girls Campaign Associate
I firmly believe that people of faith can transform the world. Despite the many flaws and failures of the church and her people, Christians have a tremendous amount of power and influence to do good. This campaign is all about harnessing the leadership of churches and clergy, and encouraging people of faith to raise their voices on behalf of women and girls. Through education and empowerment, we can confront gender-based oppressions and change harmful practices, policies, and structures within the church and the broader culture. It’s a tall order, but one that demands nothing less from us if we truly believe in the sacred worth of women and girls.
3 Lessons from Wild Goose: Holy Rest, Holy Mischief, and Holy Reconciliation
From hosting electronic dance revivals and nightly “beer and hymns” to featuring the hijinks of Christian carnies, the Goose sure knows how to let loose. Yet, this holy mischief is often missing in our life and work together. In our resistance to empire and the systems of domination that pervade our life and being, we tend to take ourselves too seriously. For many, Christianity has become staid and void of imagination. But it doesn’t have to be this way. What if we risked it all like holy fools?
In Remembrance of Dr. Vincent G. Harding
Vincent Harding, a steadfast activist and ally in the struggle for freedom.
For Love and Family
People go to great lengths for those they love, especially when it comes to immigration reform.