Melissa W. Bartholomew is a racial justice and healing minister/practitioner. She is a lawyer, a mediator and a Christian minister. Melissa’s commitment to social justice led her to attend Howard University School of Law (’97). After practicing public interest law for nearly 10 years in Seattle, WA, she began to realize the limitations of the law. Melissa discerned that the kind of heart changes that are required for social transformation cannot be achieved through legal remedies alone. In 2008, she accepted her formal call to Christian ministry and moved into the field of mediation. While working as a mediator, she began her theological education at Bakke Graduate School in Seattle. Through that program, she studied spiritually transformative leadership in Ghana and forgiveness and reconciliation in Rwanda.
In 2012, committed to expanding her capacity to transform hearts and minds at the intersection of spirituality and social change, Melissa moved to Cambridge, MA with her daughter and husband to attend Harvard Divinity School. Melissa was a Presidential Scholar at Harvard and went with the vision of creating a multifaith paradigm for racial reconciliation and healing that would engage people of all faiths and backgrounds. Her vision expanded to encompass the work of racial justice and healing which includes healing the emotional and psychological effects of racism. After graduating from Harvard in 2015 with a Master of Divinity, Melissa immediately began pursuing a combined MSW/PhD in Social Work at Boston College and completed her MSW in May 2017. She is in the midst of her PhD program. Her work explores the clinical implications of racism. Her particular focus is historical racial trauma and resilience in African Americans and the role of forgiveness and faith in their healing and resilience.