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Dr. Leah Gunning Francis – Giving Voice and Empowering

Dr. Leah Gunning Francis, Associate Dean for Contextual Education and Assistant Professor of Christian Education has been an active and visible presence in Ferguson, Missouri during the weeks since the tragic shooting of Michael Brown in early August. When United Church of Christ President Rev. Geoffrey Black recently visited St. Louis, Dr. Gunning Francis is one of the leaders who met with him. Rev. Black came to explore how local churches can respond to this crisis and how the wider church can support their efforts.

Dr. Gunning Francis has been involved in research through the “Engaged Scholars Fellowship” of Hartford University in Hartford, Connecticut. She was awarded the grant in 2012 to develop her research which focuses on giving voice to the stories of mothers of African American sons.

Dr. Gunning Francis is in the process of writing a book focusing on changing the narrative about young black males through the counter narratives/experiences of their mothers. “It’s all about giving voice and empowering an often muted population and expanding the role of Christian education as social transformation,” said Dr. Gunning Francis.


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