By: Marian Nimoh
Khristi Lauren Adams, a speaker, advocate, chaplain, and ordained Baptist minister was born in Brooklyn, NY and raised in New Jersey. She attended Temple University in Philadelphia. After finishing college, she worked as a youth specialist. She then went on to pursue her master’s degree in divinity at Princeton University. After earning her Master’s, Adams worked as a youth pastor at her church for three years. She moved to California after she was ordained as a pastor in New Jersey. As a newly ordained Pastor, Adams would live in California for a few years and on to Washington D.C where she would continue her career on campuses as a Chaplain.
A true advocate for the youth, Adams is the founder of the Becoming Conference. “During my youth, my church at the time put a lot of emphasis on teaching young people, so there were plenty of adult mentors and youth directors speaking into my life,” says Adams. The Becoming Conference is an annual conference centered on educating and empowering African American girls to take up spaces in the world. “I started the conference in early 2017. It was right after I left D.C for New Jersey. I was working as a pastoral counselor at a local counseling center and 95% of the clients I received were black and brown girls brought in by their parents. I was counseling one on one and a lot of the girls’ issues were overlapping. I found it fascinating that they were alone in their challenges, but I could put any number of them in the same room together and they all sounded like they had the same story. I approached my supervisor about a one-day workshop, but it eventually grew to a one-day conference. I have always wanted to call something Becoming because all girls were evolving into themselves, so we put that name on it,” say Adams.
Adams has always found a strong, relatable connection between herself and African American girls. Regardless of what space she was in throughout her career, she found ways to work, connect and hear the stories of different black girls she encountered daily. These profound encounters led Adams to write her book, Parable of the Brown Girl: The Sacred Lives of Girls of Color, illuminating the struggles, dreams and wisdom of these girls. “The book idea came from hearing these girls,” says Adams. “There’s so much wisdom that comes from them. It has been life changing for me in my own personal journey and brought me closer to God.”
In her book, Adams digs deep to uncover the negative stereotypes and stigmas that society puts on black girls, which often limits them on taking up space with pride and confidence. “Their ancestors and elders have tackled and confronted these same issues, which are inherited throughout generations. So, listening to how these girls navigate these issues in their own lives in contemporary society was pretty much how I pulled cultural truth out of it,” says Adams.
When it comes to society’s perception of black girls, Adams wants people to see them in a positive light. “I want people to see black girls differently, start taking them seriously and not continue to overlook them. Listen to them as teachers, they have something on the inside of them we can learn from,” she says. Adams strongly believes that black girls can walk in their truths in the spaces they occupy in their daily lives and in their relationships simply by “Being who they are and living who they are out loud,” says Adams. “The more we live authentically in our truths, the more we live out loud, and that should be enough.”
With all that is going on around the world, Adams keeps herself grounded by spending time with God and her family. “The biggest thing is to surround myself with the voice of God as opposed to the voice outside. I am not going to be watching the news all day every day. I’m not in my bible all day, but I do make sure that I am reading scripture, spending quiet time with God, praying, spending time with my family, and not being pulled into fear,” says Adams.
When Adams is not working, she is working out and spending time with her friends. She also loves to spend time with her dog, and likes to travel.
You can find more about Adams on her website, Instagram and Twitter at: