Lenora R. Knowles

MDiv Interdisciplinary Studies (2014), Union Theological Seminary; BA Africana Studies (2011), Brown University

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Lenora R. Knowles is a first year doctoral student in Women’s Studies at the University of Maryland and a CrISP Scholar at the Consortium on Race, Gender, and Ethnicity. Lenora’s academic work pivots around the question of how radical poor and working class African American women and Latinas are doing grassroots organizing within their respective communities and together across lines of race, ethnicity, and immigration status. Lenora lives in Baltimore where she is a member of two people of color led grassroots organizing collectives striving to end oppression and injustice with a radical intersectional analysis of gender, race, class, and sexuality.

Prior to joining the Department of Women’s Studies, Lenora earned a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary and was a Fellow at the Poverty Initiative/Kairos Center. While at Union she studied the role of religion and spirituality in building grassroots poor people’s social movements, political economy, and African American women’s leadership in the welfare rights movement of the 1960s and 70s. Lenora became the first person in her family to graduate from college when she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Africana Studies from Brown University. It was as a student organizer at Brown that she developed her profound appreciation for the essential role of knowledge production in deconstructing power and oppression and her passion for building grassroots social justice movements led by those communities who are most directly impacted.