Facing Race: A National Conference in St. Louis, MO — November 20-22, 2024

Bishop Tonyia Rawls

Executive Director and Founder | Freedom Center for Social Justice

Bishop Tonyia Rawls is the Founder and Executive Director of The Freedom Center for Social Justice (FCSJ). The FCSJ was founded in 2009, and has since launched the Southeastern region’s first LGBTQ Law Center and Transgender Employment Program. Since August 2013 these programs have touched hundreds within the Carolina’s and that support promises to continually grow as they meet these critical needs. Nationally, the FCSJ Transgender Faith and Action Network expands the work of their successful TransFaith In Color Conferences which were hosted in Charlotte for Trans* people of color and allies in 2011 and 2012. She also serves as the Founding Pastor of the Charlotte-based Freedom Temple Ministries and Sacred Souls Community Church, a diverse congregation of progressive Christians. In addition to her work as a spiritual leader and social justice activist, she has been a reviewer for the Journal of African-American Studies and is published in Black Sexualities: Probing Powers, Passions, Practices, and Policies(Released 2010). Bishop Rawls is a graduate of Duke University and sits on the Governing Board of the North Carolina Council of Churches and other local and national advisory and general boards.


Presentations from Facing Race 2014

Roots and Wings: Southern Histories, Legacies and Innovations for the Future

When some outside the region think of the US South, often the imagination leads to images of slavery, struggle and protest that starts in the 1800s and stops in the 1960s. For the many of us- people of color, immigrants communities, LGBTQ people - who populate and call this region home, we experience and understand “the South” as not only the place where race, power, and revolution is best understood but also where history and legacies give way to 21st century innovation for our movements. Our dynamic plenary speakers, spanning the Southern region, will offer their insight on some of the challenges and opportunities facing the region and our movements to achieve racial justice and equity. From the continuing legacy of youth organizing and direct action in Florida; the role of faith in building inclusive communities and organizing for social change in NC; the realities of shifting demographics and the opportunities for worker organizing in Texas; and implementing community centered methods to build real economic, political and community power in Jackson this plenary will highlight how the South continues to build on its history and towards freedom.

Speakers: Bishop Tonyia Rawls, Cristina Tzintzún, Chokwe Antar Lumumba