Role: Senior pastor, Christ Our Redeemer African Methodist Episcopal Church in Irvine
Bio: Whitlock serves as the executive director of USC’s Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement and president of the Ecumenical Center for Black Church Studies at the University of La Verne. He received his bachelor’s degree in religion from La Verne and his master’s in social entrepreneurship from USC. He lives in Aliso Viejo with the Rev. Hermia Shegog Whitlock, his wife of 33 years. They have three grown children and two grandchildren.
Why he is an influencer: Whitlock and his church spearheaded the Solidarity March in August, bringing together organizations of faith and law enforcement. He also was instrumental in starting the Orange County Sheriff Department’s Interfaith Advisory Council in January.
Biggest challenge: “Help police hear the voice and cry of our young people, and to help them see the implicit bias many of us have when it comes to African American men.”
Thoughts on community organizing: “Community organizing is a must, and the church must lead the way.”
Inspiration: “It’s always been Jesus Christ. He was a community organizer, social entrepreneur, freedom fighter and peacemaker.”
Can’t live without: “My wife. She keeps me focused. She supports me when I’m not feeling great and corrects me when I’m on the wrong path.”
What’s next: “We (Christ Our Redeemer) are working to start a school (preschool through middle school) to meet the needs of our children in Orange County so they have better opportunities than their parents had.”
Source: Orange County Register | DEEPA BHARATH