Dietra Wise Baker
Program Coordinator for Advocacy and Activism
Rev. Dr. Dietra Wise Baker has been serving in a contract position as NBA Organizing Specialist with the Ferguson Justice Initiative. Effective February 1, 2018, she transitioned to Program Coordinator for Advocacy and Activism, a new .50 FTE staff position with the NBA. This work flows from NBA's mission to "advocate for the well-being of humanity" and is done in collaboration and consistent communication with fellow NBA staff to equip the NBA and our ministry partners to deepen engagement in advocacy and activism. Following the trajectory of the work begun with the Ferguson Justice Initiative, these efforts utilize relationships, wisdom, and processes built and tested through that work.
Based in St. Louis, MO, Dietra will nurture engagement strategies with the NBA and our partners to transform root causes of social injustice. This includes equipping and training partners to address the critical social justice issues most relevant to their work, and collaborating with NBA staff to cultivate partnerships across the life of the church to coordinate efforts related to social justice theology, action, and advocacy.
Dietra previously served as chaplain and program development manager for Episcopal City Mission, a nonprofit providing chaplaincy services to incarcerated children in the St. Louis Metropolitan Area. Currently, Dietra is organizing the “Break the Pipeline” campaign aiming to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline in Missouri. In August 2014, she became the clergy caucus co-leader of the Gamaliel Networks' Metropolitan Congregations United, an organization that resourced clergy and congregations in the early stages of the Ferguson movement. She planted Liberation Christian Church (DOC) in April 2009 seeking to create a church that offers a complete gospel, liberating lives and liberating communities.
Dietra has a Bachelor of Science degree from Howard University in Washington, D.C.; a Master of Divinity degree from Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, MO; and her Doctorate of Ministry in Preaching degree from Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, MO. Pastor Dietra loves to dance, sing, and teach. She is married to Cornell R. Baker, and they have a beautiful teen daughter, Alexis Baker.
Getting to know Dietra
Why do you feel "called to care" about Disciples health and social service ministry?
It means we care about the injustices that disrupt our communities at their core, to care for our communities. It means we work with them to address the problems that keep them from being whole.
Who is a hero of yours, and why?
Civil rights and human rights activist Ella Baker. She said she did not belong to an organization, but to a mission. It allowed her to work with so many sectors and partners.
If I tried to find you in a supermarket, what aisle would you be in?
Produce. I am trying to eat more veggies so I'm experimenting with new recipes for breakfast and snacks.