Lynice Pinkard is a Black, queer, North-Carolina based writer, speaker, spiritual director, and public intellectual focused on freedom from what she calls "empire affective disorder."
Lynice was born in Santa Barbara, California, and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. At 14, she came out as a lesbian. At 15, she moved to the Bay Area with her parents and finished high school at Skyline High School in Oakland, California. At 16, she left the Bay Area to attend college at a Historically Black College, Hampton University, in Virginia.
Lynice came of age, personally and professionally -- as an educator and writer, grassroots organizer and community-builder, pastor and prophetic public witness, counsellor and healer -- in the badlands of the HIV/AIDS and crack cocaine epidemics of the 1980s. She directed community-based programs in San Francisco and the East Bay that served LGBTQIA communities and persons living with HIV/AIDS. Later, she turned her attention (and her MS degree in Counseling Psychology) to the acute traumas associated with community gun violence and sexual assault, developing a model program to build the capacity of families and communities to grieve in ways that would deepen their resilience, be restorative for the community as a whole, and begin to build the public will to address the underlying causes of violence. She received numerous commendations for her work to develop and implement a comprehensive plan for city-wide Critical Incident Response.
Even amidst intensive community involvement, Lynice engaged the ministries of the church. She went on to get Master of Divinity and Master of Arts degrees from the Pacific School of Religion. She co-founded City of Refuge Community Church in San Francisco--an outreach to Queer folks who were being bullied, battered and bruised by oppressive, anti-liberation Theology. (Bad theology kills!) Lynice was subsequently ordained in the United Church of Christ, and was then called to be the first African American, lesbian Associate Pastor, and then the senior pastor, of First Congregational Church of Oakland.
Lynice continued to engage her life-long passion for social justice. In 2007, while still pastoring a church in Oakland, she co-founded and supported several ministry-focused, community-based non-profits: Share First Oakland (addressing issues of hunger and structural food insecurity); Urban Sanctuary (building therapeutic collaborations between West Oakland activists and neighborhood residents, e.g., community gardeners and recyclers, artists and restorative justice advocates, marriage equality advocates and formerly incarcerated African American men in West Oakland neighborhoods); and Seminary of the Street (forming and training West Oakland neighborhood residents for faith-based critical justice work).
In 2009, Lynice shifted her emphasis away from the institutional context of congregational ministry and more intentionally toward her constituent communities, dedicating herself to decolonizing the human spirit through writing, teaching, healing, and activism in the Bay Area and nationally. Through powerful movements like Black Lives Matter, she works nationally to inspire and nurture a new generation of what she calls “resurrectionaries,” Spirit-filled servant-leaders dedicated to the remediation of day-to-day suffering, the building of collective resilience for transformative change, and the pursuit of structural and systemic justice in the world.
In 2014, Lynice was interviewed by The Sun magazine for a piece she entitled Dangerous Love: On the Revolutionary Act of Living the Gospels. Her writings include Jane in the Blackboard Jungle, The Downward Mobility of God, The Master’s Mehserle Can Never Dismantle the Master’s House, Revolutionary Suicide: Risking Everything to Transform Society and Live Fully, Wake Work, We Never Told Them To Go and Sin No More, and the two pieces, We Need the Funk, and You Will Not Remain Intact, which she co-wrote with Nichola Torbett for Geez Magazine.
Lynice currently lives with her wife Bisi and her Old English Bulldogge, Magnum Grey (Puppa) in Efland, North Carolina.