Rev. Dr. Eleanor Moody Shepard (Chairperson)

Eleanor Moody-Shepherd is the Dean of Students and Professor of Women Studies at New York Theological Seminary. Her areas of research and teaching include domestic violence, women in the Bible, and women in leadership. She is also involved regularly in leading international study seminars to the Holy Land, Africa and other parts of the world. She co-leads an annual trip to the south to study the history of the Civil Rights Movement and Southern Religion. She also serves the churches and local organizations as an educational consultant, preacher and motivational speaker. She most recently co-authored with Martha Jacobs and Rebeca Radillo “Bringing the City to Light: Pastoral Formation in a Multicultural Urban Context, ” published in Equipping the Saints: Best Practices in Contextual Education, Pilgrim Press (2009), and contributed a chapter titled “In Our Own Voices: Loud and Clear” in the anthology New Feminist Christianity: Many Voices, Many Views, forthcoming from Skylight Paths in 2010.

Dr. Moody-Shepherd grew up in Alabama and learned to appreciate the power of living and struggling on the margin. She gained insight, strength, sensitivity and experience through her participation in the Civil Rights Movement in the Deep South during the 1950s and 1960s. This tumultuous period helped her to develop the passion that motivates her to use justice as a guiding principle in her life’s work. In addition to the experiential education of being a woman of African descent in America, she attended Tuskegee University and Alabama State University, and earned degrees from the State University of New York (AAS, 1971), Vassar College (BA, 1974), Long Island University (MS, 1981), New York Theological Seminary (MDiv, 1992), and Teachers College Columbia University (EdD, 2000).

Dr. Moody-Shepherd is an ordained minister of word and sacrament in the Presbyterian Church, USA, and serves in the Presbytery of Hudson River.

Topeka K. Sam (Founder & Exec. Director)

Topeka K. Sam is the Founder and Executive Director of The Ladies of Hope Ministries – The LOHM – whose mission is to help disenfranchised and marginalized women and girls transition back into society through spiritual empowerment, education, entrepreneurship, and advocacy. She is also the co-founder of HOPE HOUSE NYC – a safe housing space for women and girls. Topeka serves on the board of directors for Grassroots Leadership and Operation Restoration. She is a Beyond the Bars 2015 Fellow and a 2016 Justice-In-Education Scholar both from Columbia University, a 2017 Soros Justice Advocacy Fellow working on Probation and Parole Accountability, a 2018 Unlocked Futures Inaugural Cohort Member, Director of #Dignity Campaign for #cut50, Host of “The Topeka K. Sam Show” on SiriusXM Urban View Channel 126 Sundays 9 am est. and a former national organizer for The National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls.

Topeka has been featured in Vogue, Salon TV, Vice, New York Times and is a TedX Mid-Atlantic Presenter. Most recently she has been featured in Glamour and Black Enterprise for being “The Black Woman behind the video that led to the Trump Clemency of Alice Johnson.”

She has worked relentlessly and accomplished this and much more since her release from Federal Prison in May 2015.

Susan Rosenberg

Susan Rosenberg is a human rights and prisoners rights advocate, adjunct lecturer, communications consultant, award-winning writer, public speaker and a formerly incarcerated person. Her memoir, An American Radical, details her 16 years in federal prison as well as her conclusions about her prison experience and her past. She was released from prison in 2001 through executive clemency by then President Bill Clinton. Upon her release she worked at American Jewish World Service for 12 years beginning as a writer then becoming the director of communications. Post-AJWS Susan has worked extensively in the nonprofit communications field with a focus on human rights and international development. She is an adjunct lecturer at Hunter College, in Women and Gender studies. She is a member of the prison writing committee of PEN America. She is in the board of directors of Current Thousands, an international development organization.

Linda White Andrews


Linda White Andrews is the Founder and President of the Zonta Club of Mid-Maryland, a part of Zonta International. Zonta International is a leading global organization of professionals empowering women worldwide through service and advocacy, envisions a world in which women’s rights are recognized as human rights and every woman is able to achieve her full potential.

Linda is a retired senior trial attorney with 29 years of experience from the U.S. Department of Justice, where she investigated and litigated employment discrimination cases.

Linda holds a BA from Morgan State University, MSW from the University of Wisconsin School of Social Work and a JD from the University of Wisconsin. She serves on the board of the White Rose Foundation and is a member of the Links, Incorporated.