Political Director

As political director, Lauren W. Reliford, MSW, is responsible for developing and implementing Sojourners’ policy strategy, positioning, framing, messaging, and advocacy for outreach and impact on Capitol Hill and the presidential administration. She is a passionate and mission-oriented public and population health professional focused on bridging the gap between social theory, spirituality, research, and practice to the forefront of our major policy decisions.

Lauren joins Sojourners with over 10 years of experience in research, policy, advocacy, and government relations. Prior to joining Sojourners, Lauren took her passion for politics and policy and turned it into a profession, focusing on domestic and international public health advocacy for of a number of large nonprofit organizations. She also earned her master’s degree in social work and focused primarily on the biological impacts of trauma in high-risk and vulnerable populations. She credits her time doing frontline social work during the pandemic as a turning point in her life and career and was drawn to Sojourners because it would allow her to continue the good work and act on her morals and values at a policy level.

She is a native of the Washington, D.C., metro area and earned her B.A. in political science from Boston College and her MSW in social policy-clinical social work at the National Catholic School of Social Services at the Catholic University of America. Lauren is an avid reader, loves her Washington Football Team, and spends time with her two dachshunds, Walter and Riley, when she needs a break.

Posts By This Author

I'm Seeking a Handgun License. I Still Support Gun Reform

by Lauren W. Reliford 06-22-2022

Image of a target at a gun range.

As a Black woman, I’ve always known that my skin color could get me killed. As I watched Capitol rioters carry the Confederate flag through the Capitol on Jan. 6, I knew the danger was more present than ever. In the wake of the Jan. 6 insurrection, the increase in white nationalist terrorism made me realize that I needed to take drastic measures to ensure my safety.

That Helplessness You're Feeling Is a Trauma Response

by Lauren W. Reliford 01-26-2022
People wait outside a community center as long lines continue for individuals trying to be tested for COVID-19 during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease in San Diego, Calif., Jan. 10, 2022.

People wait outside a community center as long lines continue for individuals trying to be tested for COVID-19 during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease in San Diego, Calif., Jan. 10, 2022. REUTERS/Mike Blake

In January 2020, COVID-19 was first detected in United States. In the two years since, we’ve experienced death and mourning on a massive scale, lost relationships over politically driven misinformation about the deadly virus, and felt constant fear and anxiety as we try to protect ourselves and our loved ones. This trauma has shaken many to their spiritual core in ways that will leave lasting effects. As the omicron variant rips through communities, I’ve heard many people express feelings of resignation. Helplessness. Hopelessness. And given how trauma works, we shouldn't be surprised when notice ourselves experiencing these feelings, even in our churches.

For Today’s Moms, There's Still No Room at the Inn

by Lauren W. Reliford 12-08-2021

The season of Advent holds a special meaning for me because it reminds me of the power of a mother’s love. While I know “Jesus is the reason for the season,” I cannot help but shift my attention to the woman who brought him into the world — and what she had to endure to birth him.

The Parable of the Federal Budget

by Lauren W. Reliford 09-22-2021

Bishop Michael Curry, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, speaks to the media on Sept., 22, 2021, following a meeting between a coalition of Christian denominations and the White House to discuss investments in anti-poverty initiatives and programs that support children and families. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

We've long argued that budgets — including our federal budgets — are moral documents. As Christians, we see this as a principle deeply rooted in scripture, including Luke's gospel, which explains that the two greatest commandments are to love God and love our neighbors (Luke 10:27). In that same passage, Jesus tells the parable of the Good Samaritan, a story about how our love for God and neighbor will be tested when our neighbors need us the most.