RELEASE: Rev. Dr. Renita J. Weems Joins the Center for American Progress as Senior Fellow with CAP’s Race and Ethnicity Policy Program

Washington, D.C. — The Center for American Progress is pleased to announce that Rev. Dr. Renita J. Weems is joining its Race and Ethnicity Policy team as a senior fellow. Rev. Dr. Weems is a distinguished biblical scholar, author, academic administrator, acclaimed speaker, and public intellectual and has been an ordained elder in the African American Episcopal Church since 1984. She is renowned for her commentaries on modern faith, religion and race, feminism, and social movements.

Danyelle Solomon, vice president of Race and Ethnicity Policy at the Center for American Progress, said:

I am thrilled to have Rev. Dr. Renita Weems join the Center for American Progress family. She is a renowned biblical scholar who beautifully weaves faith, gender, and race into her writings and sermons. Too often, issues of faith are discussed in silos, as if disconnected from communities and the world around us. Rev. Weems rightly recognizes that the quest for social justice is deeply rooted in our faith traditions and that the call for equality, human dignity, individual respect, and the rights of all people is also a call for a demonstration of faith in action. At a time when the public discourse wants to confine faith and religion to narrow ideological corners and push too many progressives away altogether, Rev. Weems reminds us that the issues we fight for every day—especially our work combating racism, sexism, and all forms of discrimination—are also issues fueled by faith and that deepening this understanding can help move this nation forward.

Rev. Dr. Renita Weems added:

There are no voiceless people, only those who do not have a microphone, an audience, a platform, and seat at the table. I am delighted to join the Center for American Progress as a senior fellow because CAP provides thinking women of faith a platform to offer a different lens for scrutinizing and talking about oppression, injustice, and domination. America has lots to learn from the discussions of black and brown women, especially those with deep, complicated roots in American religious institutions. These conversations are about how, despite sexism, racism, and inequitable access to power, we continue to work, fight, vote, advocate, march, love, raise families, pray, and have hope.

Rev. Dr. Weems received her doctorate from Princeton Seminary in 1989 and was the first African American woman to earn a doctorate in Old Testament studies. The author of several well-received books, she has taught at Vanderbilt Divinity School and Spelman College and served as academic dean at American Baptist College in Nashville, Tennessee. In 2008, Rev. Dr. Weems became the first African American woman to give Yale University’s prestigious Lyman Beecher Lectures. She won the Religious Communicators Council’s prestigious 1999 Wilbur Award for “excellence in communicating spiritual values to the secular media.”

For more information or to speak to an expert, please contact Julia Cusick at or 202-495-3682.