Terri Brown Neal is a retired registered nurse from Jacksonville, Florida and 2022 convert to Orthodoxy. She has dedicated the last decade to activism and community service, driven by compassion through social justice. Initially motivated to act by the tragic murder of Trayvon Martin, Terri became engaged through various initiatives.

Her engagement began with sit-ins with the Dream Defenders. Later she joined campaigns to rename Duval County Public Schools bearing the names of Confederate figures. Terri’s efforts then extended to voter mobilization. Alongside other activists, in 2014 Terri was honored with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award for Legends, Pioneers, and Trailblazers by the Jacksonville chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the organization Dr. King founded in 1957.

Terri was instrumental in organizing the passage of Florida’s Voting Restoration Amendment, which restores voting rights to qualified former felons. She joined her voice with Bishop William Barber’s Poor People’s Campaign to advocate for full restoration of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, nationally sharing her personal experience of attempted voter suppression. Additionally, Terri served as an Ally-Advocate for Jacksonville’s expanded Human Rights Ordinance. Her commitment reached a broader audience with a brief appearance in the HBO documentary “3 1/2 Minutes, 10 Bullets,” which delves into the community activism spurred by the murder of Jordan Davis in 2012. She felt compelled to support the Davis family because of her own sister’s death from a racially motivated attack.

Most recently, Terri has volunteered with the SisterHermana Foundation supporting families affected by cancer, and with Take ‘Em Down Jax to remove Confederate monuments from Jacksonville’s public spaces. She is a contributing author in the “(a) river rising: Anthology of Women’s Voices” series published by Women Writing for (a) Change – Jacksonville, showcasing her literary skills alongside her activist efforts.

As a convert, Terri’s passion for justice is now strengthened by her Orthodox Christian faith. She worships and further serves her community at St. John the Divine Greek Orthodox Church in Jacksonville. Through her rekindled love for Christ combined with civic engagement, Terri strives to pave the road for others as many have done for her.

The Black American Orthodox Experience is a program focused on Orthodox missions in America—insights, challenges, and how we can reach (and are reaching) members of Black, Indigenous, and other communities with the Church of Jesus Christ. Our goal is to feature honest and informative conversations about what the Great Commission looks like in modern America within a historical and cultural context.

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