Pastors Gloria White-Hammond and Ray Hammond of Bethel AME Church first to be honored


On Wednesday, February 4, Emerson College President Lee Pelton will present the College’s inaugural President’s Award for Civic Leadership, recognizing individuals throughout Boston, as well as nationally and globally, whose actions have made a positive impact on society. Pastors Gloria White-Hammond and Ray Hammond of Bethel AME Church in Boston will be the first to receive the award for their outstanding civic leadership, advancing social justice and the common good. The Award will be presented at a Martin Luther King Jr. Community Leaders Breakfast (8:00 – 10:00 a.m. on campus), organized by the College’s Elma Lewis Center for Civic Engagement, Learning and Research.

Dr. White-Hammond is a retired pediatrician from the South End Community Health Center and co-pastor of the Bethel AME Church in Boston. In 1994 she founded the church-based creative writing/mentoring ministry, Do The Write Thing, for high-risk adolescent females. The project serves young women through small groups in Boston public schools, juvenile detention facilities, and on site at Bethel AME Church. In 2002, she co-founded My Sister’s Keeper, a women-led humanitarian and human rights initiative that partners with Sudanese women in their efforts toward reconciliation and reconstruction of their communities.

Pastor Hammond has a long history of involvement with youth and community activities. He is Chair and Co-Founder of the Ten Point Coalition—an ecumenical group of Christian clergy and lay leaders working to mobilize the Greater Boston community around issues affecting high-risk youth; Executive Director of Bethel's Generation Excel program; Executive Committee Member, Black Ministerial Alliance; Chair of the Boston Opportunity Agenda; a member of the Strategy Team for the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization; a member of the Boston Green Ribbon Commission; and a trustee of the Yawkey Foundation, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, BMC Health System, Inc. and the Math and Technology Public Charter High (MATCH) School. He is a former chairperson of the Boston Foundation, and continues to work in local and district youth activities in the AME Church.

Married since 1973, the Hammonds have devoted their lives to serving local and global communities in need. “I’m very pleased to present this inaugural award for civic leadership to Pastors Gloria White-Hammond and Ray Hammond. Their work exemplifies the extraordinary impact that action motivated by a concern for social justice and our common good can have on so many individual lives and communities,” said Emerson College President Lee Pelton.

The College’s Office of the President and its Elma Lewis Center for Civic Engagement, Learning and Research established the President’s Award for Civic Leadership to celebrate great civic leaders. It will be awarded on an ongoing basis to individuals who demonstrate creative courage in advancing social justice, selfless action to better the lives of others, and/or outstanding leadership that advances the common good.


Dr. Gloria E. White’s community service spans three decades and two continents. Since 2001, Dr. White-Hammond has made numerous trips into war-torn southern Sudan, Darfur and Chad. She co-founded My Sister’s Keeper in 2002—a group that is deeply committed to three pathways to sustainable peace. The Sisterhood for Peace initiative supports a growing network of diverse Sudanese women in Sudan and the Diaspora, who collaborate across traditional boundaries of race, religion, ethnicity and geography to promote peace throughout all of Sudan. In 2008, Dr. White-Hammond retired from the South End Community Health Center after serving 27 years as a dedicated pediatrician to families from some of Boston’s most challenged communities. Dr. White-Hammond is a graduate of Boston University (AB, 1972), Tufts University School of Medicine (MD, 1976) and Harvard Divinity School (MDiv, 1997). She is a member of the boards of United to End Genocide, Harvard Alumni Association, and Tufts University.

Pastor Ray Hammond was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pa., the eldest son of a Baptist preacher and a schoolteacher. He was educated in the public schools of Philadelphia and went on to graduate from Harvard College and Harvard Medical School. He completed his surgical residency at the New England Deaconess Hospital (Boston, Mass.) and joined the Emergency Medicine staff at Cape Cod Hospital (Hyannis, Mass.). He accepted the call to the preaching ministry in 1976 and completed his Master of Arts degree in the Study of Religion (Christian and Medical Ethics) at Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 1982. In 1988, he was called to be the founder and pastor of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Boston.  Pastor Hammond is the author of several papers and articles on a range of issues, including academic achievement, diversity, and violence prevention. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is also the recipient of numerous honors, including honorary doctorates from Boston University, Cambridge College, University of Massachusetts - Boston, Lesley University, Northeastern University, Boston College, Emmanuel College, Notre Dame University and AME University (Monrovia, Liberia).

About the College

Based in Boston, Massachusetts, opposite the historic Boston Common and in the heart of the city’s Theatre District, Emerson College educates individuals who will solve problems and change the world through engaged leadership in communication and the arts, a mission informed by liberal learning. The College has 3,780 undergraduates and 670 graduate students from across the United States and 50 countries. Supported by state-of-the-art facilities and a renowned faculty, students participate in more than 90 student organizations and performance groups. Emerson is known for its experiential learning programs in Los Angeles, Washington, DC, the Netherlands, London, China, and the Czech Republic as well as its new Global Portals, with the first opening last fall in Paris. The College has an active network of 51,000 alumni who hold leadership positions in communication and the arts. For more information, visit

About the Elma Lewis Center

The Elma Lewis Center for Civic Engagement, Learning, and Research inspires and sustains civic engagement at Emerson College. The Elma Lewis Center seeks to uplift communities by bringing Emerson’s strengths in communication and the arts to bear in supporting social change. The Elma Lewis Center coordinates civic engagement strategies and activities at Emerson College; supports Emerson's community and school engagement partnerships; fosters discourse on social issues of concern; and promotes the expansion of service learning, public scholarship, and research at the intersection of the arts, communication, and social and community change. For more information, visit the Elma Lewis Center website.