Dawn Sanders has been preaching and teaching at churches, retreats and universities all over the United States about the love of Jesus Christ for over twenty years. Dawn began speaking and teaching on social justice, specifically, diversity and inclusion in 2006. As you will see from this biography, Dawn sits the intersection of a number of different identities and experiences simultaneously.
Dawn Sanders was raised by Christians to love Jesus. Her maternal grandparents were ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the Jim Crow South and her paternal grandmother was a mother of her church in Kansas City, Kansas. Hers was also a military family. As a result, until the age of seven, Dawn lived in the multicultural environment of a US military base in Washington, DC, where she attended a non-denominational protestant service and her mother was the President of the NCO Wives Club.
During this time, Dawn’s mother founded a nursery school for her to attend at the age of three before enrolling her three youngest children in a catholic private school where they were three of the only four African Americans in the whole school. To enable her mother to be home when school was over, her father worked two jobs to afford their private school tuition. Shifting financial priorities due to her father’s retirement from the military and their decision to buy a house led to Dawn attending DC public schools for a year before transferring to a school in the Maryland suburbs of DC.
While placing her in all of these different settings, her parents created an atmosphere in their home where their cultural identities and religious beliefs were nurtured and practiced. These experiences, along with the strong foundation they laid, exposed Dawn to many different situations and taught her how to move seamlessly from one to another while still having a strong African American Christian identity.
After graduating high school, Dawn received her bachelors of science in computer science from the University of Maryland at College Park, a predominately white college in the suburbs of DC. While working on her undergraduate degree, Dawn participated in a work study program for exceptional black youth in DC sponsored by the Potomac Electric Power Company. After leaving university, Dawn began working as a computer programmer for a small business owned by an African American woman. Following this, Dawn’s career continued on the path set in her childhood of transitioning out of predominantly white, multicultural, and predominantly black
After leaving university, Dawn also joined her first and only church as an adult, First Baptist Church of Glenarden, a large African American church steeped in the Gospel tradition of her family. Rooted in her new church, Dawn quickly began studying her lifelong faith. Dawn threw herself into her studies attending both her church’s adult Sunday school and Bible Institute classes, later accepting the call to preach and teach the Gospel. It was in a Bible Institute class that Dawn met the love of her life, Reginald Sanders. Their courtship was a testimony for many and concluded when they shared their first kiss at their wedding ceremony on March 28, 2009.
Continuing her biblical studies, Dawn enrolled in Bethel Seminary graduating summa cum laude in June 2010 and received her minister’s license from the First Baptist Church of Glenarden in December of that year. Before leaving seminary, a classmate introduced Dawn to Campus Ambassadors, a parachurch campus ministry organization, and Dawn began working with the ministry in regards to social justice, especially in the area of diversity and inclusion. A few years later, Dawn left the computer field for full-time ministry.
Unfortunately, their marriage was short lived ending just over two years later when Reggie passed of a massive heart attack while out jogging. Two years later, Dawn returned to computer engineering while remaining active in her church and ministry work. It is with this distinctive blend of experience and unique perspective that Dawn continues to teach and preach.