We are excited to announce the full list of presenters and preachers for the 2023 Alliance Annual Gathering!
Derecka Purnell (she/her) is our keynote speaker. She is a human rights lawyer, researcher, and author of Becoming Abolitionists: Police, Protests, and the Pursuit of Freedom. She works to end police and prison violence by providing legal assistance, research, and training in community based organizations through an abolitionist framework. 

As a Skadden Fellow, she helped to build the Justice Project at Advancement Project’s National Office, which focused on consent decrees, police and prosecutor accountability, and jail closures. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Purnell co-created the COVID19 Policing Project at the Community Resource Hub for Safety Accountability. The project tracks police arrests, harassment, citations and other enforcement through public health orders related to the pandemic.

Purnell received her JD from Harvard Law School, her BA from the University of Missouri--Kansas City, and studied public policy and economics at the University of California--Berkeley as a Public Policy and International Affairs Law Fellow. Her writing has been published widely, including in The Oxford Handbook of Race and Law in the United States (forthcoming), The Harvard Journal of African American Policy, The New York Times, The Atlantic, The New York Magazine, Boston Review, Teen Vogue, and Harper’s Bazaar. Purnell has lectured, studied, and strategized around social movements across the United States, The Netherlands, Belgium, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

She is currently a columnist at The Guardian and a Scholar-in-Residence at Columbia Law School.
The Reverend Dr. Benjamin Boswell (he/him), senior pastor of Myers Park Baptist Church, serves at the intersection of strategic leadership, spiritual formation, and social justice. In his professional capacity, Ben is a preacher, pastor, author, civil rights leader, and sought-after public speaker. Ben is also a former infantry officer in the U.S. Army National Guard, a graduate of Marion Military Institute (AA), Campbell University (BA), Duke Divinity School (MDIV), and Saint Paul’s School of Theology (DMIN) where his doctoral thesis was “Identifying Whiteness: Discerning Race through Spiritual Practice in the White Dominant Church.” During his doctoral studies, Ben also completed the two-year Academy for Spiritual Formation through the Upper Room. Ben has received numerous awards and honors for his work as a pastor and civil rights leader. In 2021 he was selected to be one of the Freedom Fete speakers at Trinity Episcopal School and was awarded the prestigious Martin Luther King Jr. Medallion. The award is the city’s highest honor, given to a person who promotes racial equality, social justice, and community service. He is the author of For the Facing of this Hour: Preaching that Resists White Christian Nationalism and Confronting Whiteness: A Spiritual Journey of Reflection, Conversation, and Transformation.
Wendi Cooper (she/her) is a transgender woman of color who is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana. She has been a healthcare provider and mental health professional for over a decade. Wendi earned a B.S. in biology at Southern University at New Orleans in 2011. Additionally, she has an Executive Masters of Criminal Justice with a concentration in juvenile justice from Southern University. Because of her connections with the transgender community, Wendi was proclaimed by council member Latoya Cantrell before being appointed to Mayor Cantrell’s transition team. She was a community organizer for the NO Justice Project in New Orleans, LA where she provided key testimony in the federal lawsuit that successfully challenged Louisiana’s Crime Against Nature by Solicitation (CANS) law, securing the removal of more than 700 women from the sex offender registry. Wendi has been featured in an MSNBC News documentary on transgender women’s advocacy in Louisiana, in Floodlines: Community and Resistance from Katrina to the Jena Six by Jordan Flaherty and in a Human Rights Campaign on Crime Against Nature by Solicitation feature story. Wendi’s goal is to help all women, particularly transgender women, overcome their fears.
Caroline Durham (she/her) brings thirty-plus years of justice advocacy to her role as Executive Director for the St. Charles Center for Faith + Action. She comes to the Center from her role as Georgia Appleseed's Legal and Policy Director. In addition to serving as a public defender in state and federal courts, she has extensive experience training advocates on how to effectively navigate criminal courts, provide client-centered services, and bring about systemic change through case-by-case work. A graduate of Tulane Law School, Caroline is committed to strengthening communities in the South. Beyond her legal practice, Caroline has served as a member of several boards, including the Veterans Defense Project, YouthLink, African American Family Services, as well as volunteering with many community organizations. Caroline and her partner, Barbara "Bobbie" Dyce, are grateful to call New Orleans home. 
The Reverend Dr. nyle fort (he/him) is a minister, activist, and scholar. He studies how people resist oppression, build beloved community, and struggle to transform the world. He is currently writing a book about the ethics of love in contemporary freedom movements. nyle’s writing is featured in The Guardian, The Boston Globe, The New York Magazine, Socialism and Democracy, Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy, and There’s a Revolution Outside, My Love: Letters from a Crisis. His scholarship has been funded by the Ford Foundation, the University of Pennsylvania, the Forum for Theological Exploration, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, and the Atlantic Fellowship for Racial Equity. nyle earned his B.A. from Morehouse College; Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary; and Ph.D. in Religion and Interdisciplinary Humanities from Princeton University.
Robyn K Hasan (she/her) started as a contractor in June 2020 with Women on the Rise and rose quickly in the organization by becoming the Executive Director in January 2022. Since coming home in 2020, after serving 10 years in prison, she has been fighting to reform the criminal legal system through the campaign of closing the Atlanta City Detention Center, which has gained national attention. While inside, she created a newsletter to help uplift women in her situation. Since coming home, she continued the newsletter through Women on the Rise and Reverse the Cycle of Incarceration. She is a fellow with Just Leadership, Women Transcending Collective Leadership, and Women Organizing for Justice & Opportunity Leadership.
The Reverend Elizabeth Mangham Lott (she/her) serves as senior pastor of St. Charles Ave. Baptist Church. In 2019 she helped launch the St. Charles Center for Faith + Action out of her deeply held belief that all people of faith and conscience are called to act for the common good. She earned an M.Div. from the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond, is a native of Mobile, Alabama, and she pursued undergraduate studies in Religion at Samford University. She, her husband Nathan, and their children are proud to call New Orleans home.
The Reverend Elijah R. Zehyoue (he/him) serves as the Co-Director of the Alliance of Baptists. In this role, he is leading them through an effort to become an antiracist organization. As a historian, theologian, pastor, preacher, and teacher, Elijah is committed to using his many gifts to help people of all walks of life do the head, heart, and soul work required for our collective liberation. He is a graduate of Morehouse College (B.A.) and the
University of Chicago (M.Div.), and he is currently a Ph.D. candidate in African History at Howard University where he is writing a dissertation on the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade and the Origins of the Conflict in Liberia. Additionally, Elijah teaches African and African American Studies at Georgetown University. Prior to coming to the Alliance, Elijah served on the pastoral staff at Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. Elijah is originally from Liberia, West Africa and grew up in Baton Rouge, LA.
Thursday, April 20, 2023

The Chaplain Retreat and Board Meeting will take place on Thursday

6:00p-9:00p Baptist Beer Garden at the Hotel Indigo

Friday, April 21, 2023

8:00-8:45a Coffee Hour

9:00-10:30a Welcome and Opening Worship

10:30-11:00a Break

11:00a-12:30p Opening Lecture

12:45-2:00p Lunch & Community Meetings

2:15-3:45p Workshops 

3:45-4:15p Break

4:15-5:45p Stories From Within: Practicum from the Community 

Saturday, April 22, 2023

8:00-8:45a Coffee Hour

9:00-10:30a Welcome and Opening Worship

10:30-11:00a Break

11:00a-12:45p Keynote Lecture

12:45-1:45p Lunch

2:00-3:30p Workshops 

3:30-4:00p Break

4:00-5:30p Stories From Within: Practicum from the Community 

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Invitation to worship at congregational partner Park Ave Baptist Church

*This schedule is subject to change. Please check the event page on the website for updates.
Hotel Information
230 Peachtree Street NE
Atlanta, GA 30303
Tel: 404.523.7600

The Alliance of Baptists has a discounted room block at Hotel Indigo Atlanta Downtown April 20-23, 2023 for a discounted group rate of $159.00 per night. To reserve your room with the Alliance, click here.
Childcare will be provided for children 0-5 years in the children’s facility at the church. Please note, all children who will be at the event need to be registered by April 16 (as part of your registration) so appropriate accommodations can be arranged. Childcare will be available from 8AM to 6PM on Friday and Saturday.
The Alliance will be holding the annual business meeting virtually this year. We invite you to join us on Zoom April 1, from 11AM to 2PM ET to be a part of the conversation and decision-making process and the life of the Alliance.
The Alliance of Baptists is a vibrant movement of people, faith communities and ministry partners who are deeply passionate about ecumenism, partnership in mission, relentless hospitality and racial and social justice.
Leadership Team
Carole Collins, co-director
Reverend April Bakermission and ministry partner liaison
Reverend Dejon Campbell, development and strategic engagement manager
Reverend Stephanie True Cooper, strategic communications and clergy engagement manager
Reverend Malu Fairley-Collins, endorser, BCC, ACPE Certified Educator
Cathy McGaughey, operations manager
Kristy Pullen, communications and development associate