Lead Organizer, CAJM in Charleston, SC
Growing up as a preacher’s kid, Treva saw the best and the worst of congregational life and swore she would never be employed by a church. Instead she pursued her passion of music and pictured herself as a college music professor and even better, a back up singer in her twin sister’s band. However, after two years of volunteering in her church with youth and leading the local high school Fellowship of Christian Athletes organization, Treva found her way into a full time youth ministry position where she worked for nine years. While she loved the youth and families she worked with, she couldn’t help but see many of her youth were trapped in cycles of poverty and addiction. One memory that stands as a grave example for Treva was when one of her youth was charged with a felony assault from a fight that broke out at a college party. Because of his limited resources this 18 year old kid was advised by his public defender to plead guilty to that felony charge. His public defender said, “As a young black man in Kansas, you will face a much longer time in prison if you challenge this in court.” From that experience, Treva realized that she and the congregation she worked for were unable to challenge a powerful system like the criminal justice system. It was then that Treva began to research other careers that would allow her to put pressure on those systems to force change.
In October of 2011, Treva resigned her position as Director of Youth Ministries in order to pursue an organizing career through the DART network. Today, Treva works as the Lead Organizer of The Charleston Area Justice Ministry in Charleston, SC where she works with 30 congregations, building powerful justice ministry networks to transform the corrupt systems in her community. Treva has been married for 18 years and has two fantastic children who are super proud to have a mother who is a community organizer.