Ahmad Greene-Hayes is a writer, scholar, and freedom fighter whose work bridges the gap between communities of faith, the academy, and movements for racial and gender justice. He currently serves as an inaugural cohort fellow of the Just Beginnings Collaborative (2016-2018), where his project, Children of Combahee, works to eradicate child sexual abuse in Black churches. Through workshops, preaching series, public townhalls, and curriculum development, Ahmad is working with black pastors, preachers, theologians, and leaders to respond to the epidemic that is child sexual abuse—from the pew to the pulpit.
He is the creator of #BlackChurchSex on Twitter, a progressive digital conversation on gender and sexuality in the contemporary life of the Black church, and he helped plan the #BlackChurchSex convening—“Love Thyself: Black Bodies and Religious Space”—co-sponsored by Princeton Theological Seminary’s Office of Black Church Studies and Columbia University’s Center on African American Religion, Sexual Politics and Social Justice.
A highly sought after speaker, writer, and advocate, his work has appeared on Ebony, NewBlackMan (In Exile), Racebaitr, The Root, The Feminist Wire, among many others; and he has spoken across the country on issues of race, gender, sexual violence and religion, most recently at the internationally recognized Women of the World (WOW) Festival at the Apollo Theater, New York University, Middle Collegiate Church, Princeton Theological Seminary, Rutgers University-New Brunswick, and in a host of other community-oriented spaces. He has also appeared on CNN and the Nancy Grace show to discuss police violence and the movement for Black lives.
The recipient of many prestigious awards and honors, Ahmad was named a finalist by the Harry S. Truman Foundation, was awarded (but declined) the notable Thomas J. Watson travel fellowship, and was honored with the 2015 Unilever Legacy of Leadership Award from the Jackie Robinson Foundation, of which he is an alumnus. In October 2015, he was named one of five “Super Men” who organize around racial and gender justice in Black communities by Ebony magazine, and in 2016, he was honored by Planned Parenthood as a thought leader in the movement for Black lives around issues of race, gender, sexuality, and religion.
He is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Religion at Princeton University in the Religion in the Americas subfield, where he is also pursuing graduate certificates in African American Studies and Gender and Sexuality Studies. His research interests include Black religion(s), African American Pentecostalism, Holiness Movements, Gender and Sexuality in the Black church, and 19th-20th century African American religious history. He is a Mellon Mays fellow and holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and Africana Studies from Williams College. Using oral histories, performance studies, and other archival materials, his senior honors thesis entitled, “Black Pentecostal Touch: Sexual Abuse, Queerantagonism, and (Un)holy Hands,” examined how Black religiosity, within the context of Black Pentecostal churches, responds to gendered and sexualized Black trauma. He intends to record the histories and tell the stories of black religious people who are often erased or eclipsed by our cultural memory, and he also hopes to bring to light new pathways for collective liberation, communal accountability, and justice.