Vereene Parnell

As a Faith-Based Coordinator at the Museum, Vereene works directly with Rev. DeMett Jenkins, Lilly Director of Education and Engagement for Faith-Based Communities, in a supportive capacity. 

“I am the great grandchild of people who believed they owned people,” Vereene said. “ If racism is America’s original sin (and I believe it is), shining a bright light on the reality of proud lives stolen and displaced, on the creativity, resilience, courage – and brutally broken bodies and spirits – of people whose stories have been erased or contorted beyond recognition is an essential prerequisite to healing ourselves and redeeming our profoundly imperfect country.  Helping to shine that light in ways that may help others stand a little taller and see our history more clearly is a huge privilege and honor.“

Prior to joining the Museum team, Vereene spent 12 years as the founding Associate Dean for Service, Spirituality and Social Responsibility at a small liberal arts college in Massachusetts. There, she built programs in interfaith and  intercultural dialogue, civic engagement and community partnership.  More recently, she served as Associate Director and Hospitality Manager for a Quaker experiential learning center and guest house on Capitol Hill that once served as a hospitality station for Resurrection City during the original Poor People’s Campaign. During her time there, they assisted groups such as young protesters from DACA Dreamers, climate activists, and mothers grieving the loss of children to gun violence and police brutality.  

Vereene spends her free time talking and writing about theology, ethics and growing up in the South; listening to acoustic music, jazz, and art of all genres; hanging out with her cockapoo, Obiwan Kenobi; gardening on her balcony; sailing on the Hudson River; and reading (currently Reynolds and Kendi’s Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time and Eddie Glaude’s book on Baldwin-for-our-times, Begin Again).