Meet our 2018 Program Explorers!
Exploration: Interfaith Panel with Dr. Sabrina Dent
Dr. Sabrina E. Dent (DMin) is the director of programs and partnerships for the religious and civic leaders track at the Religious Freedom Center of the Freedom Forum Institute. In addition to assisting students and partner school personnel, she is coordinating our new initiative for community-based workshops as well as the religious liberty Summer Bootcamp for Interns.
Sabrina is the past president of the Interfaith Community of Greater Richmond (ICGR). ICGR is a non-profit organization comprised of 20 faith groups and denominations that is committed to developing respect, understanding, and cooperation among the various religious faiths. Sabrina has been featured in The Christian Citizen Magazine with her publications “Listening: An Act of Compassion” and “Let the Dreamers Live: A Call to Action.” In November 2018, she will a featured panelist at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Toronto, Canada.
Sabrina earned her Master of Divinity degree and Doctor of Ministry degree from Virginia Union University. Her doctoral dissertation project title was “Bridging the Gap of Race and Interfaith Relations: Connecting Humanity with Our Stories.” She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Housing, Interior Design, and Resource Management from Virginia Tech.
Exploration: Sneaker Painting with Van Monroe
Raised in Cleveland, Ohio, by a family of non-traditional artists, Van Taylor Monroe creative spirit was nurtured at an early age, as he was encouraged to celebrate his self-expression through art. Later, he attended Miami University in Ohio as a graphic design major and quickly combined his business savvy with his creative talents. Since graduation, Monroe has become a well-known talent in painting traditional canvas, photography, digital art, film, murals, and customized sneakers. Van's artwork was nationally recognized and added to the Smithsonian Museum's collection and also featured in the Manifest Hope Gallery. Monroe has traveled to Africa to teach painting techniques to students at Academie des Beaux-Arts in Kinshasa, DRC. He has created artwork for President Barack Obama, Valerie Trierweiler, Spike Lee, Afeni Shakur, Will.I.Am, Hill Harper, Queen Latifah, Nicki Minaj, Ray Romano, DJ Tiesto, Jennifer Lopez, Carmelo and LaLa Anthony, Josh Hutcherson and countless other celebrities. Van has worked with 20th Century Fox in promoting their summer blockbuster movies Wolverine and Ice Age 4 with his sneaker designs. Monroe’s adept leadership ability was celebrated by his community through his induction into Cleveland's prestigious 40-40 club. In 2014, Van Monroe became the first African American male inducted into the Euclid High School Distinguished Achievement Hall of Fame. Through the richness of his life experiences and artistry, Van has devoted his existence to walking in his purpose and encouraging people throughout the world to pursue the dreams that are hidden within their hearts.
Exploration: NMAAHC Workshop with Rev. Teddy Reeves
Reverend Teddy R. Reeves is the Curatorial Museum Specialist of Religion in the Center for
the Study of African American Religious Life at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum
of African American History & Culture in Washington, D.C. At the museum, Teddy is
responsible for assisting in collecting religious artifacts, research, public programs, and faith
Teddy previously served as the Executive Pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Jamaica, NY. In
addition, he served as the founding Program Administrator for the Center for Black Church
Studies at Princeton Seminary, as a high school English teacher at two prestigious independent
schools and, as a Youth and Young Adult Pastor at Union Baptist Church in Trenton, N.J., and as
a fundraising consultant for a large philanthropic firm.
Teddy earned his B.A. in English from Hampton University, Master of Divinity from Princeton
Seminary, and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Education Administration from Fordham
Exploration: Theatre of the Oppressed with Tiffany Trent
Tiffany Trent creates theatre with youth particularly in contexts of social justice and arts ministry. She taught in Theatre & Performance Studies at University of Chicago, and supervised drama ministries with two Chicago-area UCC congregations. Selected theatre credits include workshops with Alabama Shakespeare Festival and New Harmony Writers’ Project; shows with MPAACT and Pegasus Young Playwrights’ Festival; teaching with Goodman’s Youth Drama Workshop and Chicago Dramatists. Tiffany earned her B.A. at University of Chicago; MFA Directing, Carnegie Mellon; M.Div., Chicago Theological Seminary, and is currently a PhD candidate in Theatre for Youth at Arizona State. She researches in areas of liberation theology, child theology, performance studies, and critical race theory. Tiffany’s scholarly and aesthetic processes for unpacking what humanizes and dehumanizes are practices of story theology, practical theology, and theological anthropology. Tiffany is a 2016-2017 recipient of a Doctoral Fellowship with the Forum for Theological Exploration.
I look forward to sharing Theatre of the Oppressed techniques with the youth of STREAMYTI@VUU! Augusto Boal, the Brazilian theatre-maker who cultivated TO, felt that mainstream theatre and media story structures “coerced” people into prescribed social roles or class narratives. Sound familiar? For people to intervene and inject images of their own lives on stage, Boal created strategies such as Image Theater, Forum Theatre, Legislative Theater, Invisible Theatre, and Newspaper Theatre, as activism for the “spect-actor” to transform narratives of power. In faith settings, I practice the techniques as pastoral care to turn stories around, collectively listen for the prophetic move of God, embody transformation, try it on, see how it feels. With participants’ theological encounters as the source material, we will rehearse a new reality for a concern that youth bring to the table, and actionable ideas will emerge from creating story together.
Exploration: Dinner with Dean
A scholar of African American social, political, and religious thought, Dean Corey D.B. Walker has published broadly on African American religion and philosophy, African American history and culture, and religion and American public life.
Dean Walker is the author of A Noble Fight: African American Freemasonry and the Struggle for Democracy in America (University of Illinois Press) and has completed the manuscript for his next book entitled Between Transcendence and History: An Essay on Religion and the Future of Democracy in America. He is editor of the special issue of the journal Political Theology on “Theology and Democratic Futures” and Associate Editor of the award winning SAGE Encyclopedia of Identity. He has published over fifty articles, reviews, book chapters, and essays. Dean Walker co-directed and co-produced the documentary film Fifeville with acclaimed artist, filmmaker, and University of Virginia professor Kevin Jerome Everson. Dean Walker has served as Book Review Editor and as an Associate Editor of The Journal of the American Academy of Religion, generally considered the top academic journal in the field.
Before assuming his current position, Dean Walker was Dean of the College of Arts, Sciences, Business and Education and inaugural John W. and Anna Hodgin Hanes Professor of the Humanities at Winston-Salem State University. Previously, Dean Walker served as chair of the department of Africana Studies at Brown University where he was also a tenured professor. He was also a faculty affiliate in the department of American Studies, department of Religious Studies, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, and Committee on Science and Technology Studies. Dean Walker also served as a faculty member in the department of Religious Studies and the Carter G. Woodson Institute of African-American and African Studies at the University of Virginia. He was the inaugural director of the Center for the Study of Local Knowledge established by the Carter G. Woodson Institute, with support from the Ford Foundation, as the only research center in the country dedicated to new and innovative research related to the concept of local knowledge. Dean Walker also served as a visiting professor at the Historisches Institut at Friedrich-Schiller Universität Jena in Germany where he delivered the Johann Gustav Droysen Lecture.
Exploration: Getting to Know Me with Dr. Nathaniel West
Dr. Nathaniel West received the Bachelor of Science in Accounting degree from Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia. He earned the Master of Divinity degree at the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University. Rev. West continued his theological education at the Presbyterian School of Christian Education where he earned the Master of Arts in Christian Education degree. He also earned a Ph.D. in Education at Virginia Commonwealth University. Dr. West recently completed the Masters in Professional Counseling degree at Liberty University.
Previous ministry positions include the Senior Pastor of Real Life Ministries, Minister of Christian Education at Trinity Baptist Church and the Executive Minister at Trinity Baptist Church. He also served as a member of the Board of CARITAS and the Governance Board of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Social Work Head Start Program. He currently serves as a board member on the Soul Ice Foundation.
Dr. West currently serves at the Director of the Master in Arts in Christian Education, the Director of Formation and Counseling and an Assistant Professor of Christian Education at the Samuel Dewitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University.
Exploration: Oasis with Gloria Williams
A proud Virginian, Gloria isan honor graduate of Norview High School. Sheholds a B.S. from Virginia Tech,MBA from Old Dominion University and MDiv from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University.
Gloria is best known for her passion for creativity and her compassion for community. Her current community roles include: Tutor for Norfolk Public Schools, Financial Educator for BankOn of Hampton Roads, Treasurer for Urban League of Hampton Roads Young Professionals, Associate Minister for Shekinah Kingdom Church and Foreign missionary.
Gloria’s creative gift of singing and spoken word, which has afforded her the opportunity to share nationally and internationally, is best depicted in her debut album entitled, “UNMUTE ME.” “UNMUTE ME,” which has become Gloria’s life motto, empowers others to uncover the greatness that lies within, using God’s love as a catalyst.
Gloria declares that every day is an opportunity to live abundantly, humbly, and UNMUTED!!!