REV. VALERIE TONEY PARKER
Rev. Valerie Toney Parker will be discussing “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – 50 Years Later – What Happened to the Dream?” on Dana Being Dana this Wednesday, April 4th at 9 PM CT on Facebook LIVE (Dana Being Dana) and intellectualradio.com!
Rev. Parker built a successful career in Human Resources after earning her B.A. in Psychology from The Johns Hopkins University. She began working in the area of training and development for a non-profit organization allowing Rev. Parker to couple her psychology degree with her passion for teaching. Rev. Parker spent two years in subsequent roles within this organization working to bring women who were on social services back into the world of work and independence.
After her rewarding experience in the non-profit sector, Rev. Parker matriculated to The University of Chicago Booth School of Business earning an M.B.A. in Labor Economics/Human Resources Management. Following her graduation from Booth, Rev. Parker began a Human Resources career in the corporate sector of publically traded companies where she has spent nearly 25 years in roles with increasing responsibility in the CPG, manufacturing, services and distribution industries. Rev. Parker’s accountabilities included labor negotiations, HR strategy development, organization development, performance management, leadership development and HR analytics. She is currently the Chief People Officer for the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
Rev. Parker earned her Master of Divinity (MDiv.) degree from Chicago Theological Seminary focusing on Black Liberation Theology. She is currently a Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Scholar working on her Doctor of Ministry (DMin.) degree in African-Centered Religious Thought and Ministry at McCormick Theological Seminary. Rev. Parker uses her theological training as an ordained clergywoman in the African Methodist Episcopal Church where she is responsible for the social justice ministry in her home congregation, Arnett Chapel AME. As an ordained minister, Rev. Parker’s work focuses on prophetic preaching about and engaging young adults in matters of social justice while deepening their understanding of their African heritage.
Rev. Parker’s ministry also has an international focus on reconnecting and realigning social justice in the lives of African-American and South African teens. Her calling and ministry is to reignite in our youth a spark of passion around social issues such as those addressed in the Civil Rights and Anti-Apartheid Movements, while creating a social justice ethic in future global leaders. To that end, Rev. Parker founded Global Shared Learning, Inc. (GSL). By using an internationally collaborative approach with South African schools and townships, GSL’s strategic objective is to leverage academia and theology in economically depressed communities in an effort to dispel the negative narrative about educational competence and project management capabilities in African-American students with regards to social justice.
The global partnership with South Africa resulted in Rev. Parker taking groups of teens and young adults to Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria in 2010 and 2014. The purpose of the educational experience was to partner with schools and youth centered organizations focused on STEM education as a means of addressing social justice issues such as clean water, alternative energy and lack of healthcare. The intersection of social justice and STEM resulted in participants creating domestic and intercontinental solutions.
Rev. Parker focuses her preaching and Christian formation on the scripture in Matthew 25:31-46 where Jesus commands us to attend to the needs of the least of them – the hungry, the imprisoned, naked, the stranger and the sick; and Micah 6:8 which requires us to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with God. She believes THIS is the work of Christ that can impact everyone at every age.
Rev. Parker is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sorority, Inc., is an IHSA basketball official, and has two children, Justin (25), a 2015 graduate of Purdue University and entrepreneur in the multi-media industry and Kyle (23), a senior at The University of Rochester in New York majoring in biology with a minor in biomedical engineering.