New Alumna Dissertation Examines the Transformative Role of Religious Leadership in Response to Racism and Social Injustice

Dr. Shandell MaxwellArtist, Social Activist, and PhD in Leadership and Change alumna Dr. Shandell Maxwell has published her dissertation entitled, Religious Racial Socialization: The Approach of a Black Pastor at an Historic Black Baptist Church in Orange County, CaliforniaThis case study explored and developed the religious racial socialization (RRS) approach of a Black Baptist pastor in Orange County, California with the goal to assess the way in which the pastor’s direct messages about race influenced and transformed members’ racial and social views and actions and examined the message alignment between what the pastor said and what church members and the leadership team heard. Findings of this impactful and timely research suggest that a Pastor who coaches and educates on racial matters, and advocates for justice in and outside of the church, is progressive and effective in transforming how members respond to racism and social injustice. The study provides examples on how to approach and manage racial discussions in the church, how to create an inclusive environment where diverse groups feel safe to talk about race, and how to prepare for and manage cultural change. Dr. Maxwell is a multitalented professional and community activist from Southern California specializing in human and organizational development, education, business, change management, activism, and artistic expression.