annalise fonza, Ph.D.

Since the late 1990s, annalise (small case is intentional) has devoted her life to teaching, writing and community development. She is a skilled analyst and a critical thinker, particularly as it pertains to the redevelopment and development of predominantly black neighborhoods and communities. Presently, annalise is a federal civilian employee with the United States government, and she is a lecturer at Cal Poly Pomona in the Department of Urban & Regional Planning. Her numerous teaching experiences include appointments at the University of Missouri Kansas City, Clark Atlanta University, Georgia State University, Claflin University, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Worcester State University, Mount Holyoke College, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and, Parkland Community College. In addition, she is formerly a local community radio host and organizer, a legislative/political aide, and a United Methodist (UMC) clergywoman. She is capable and known for her versatility, yet she remains engaged in the communities and neighborhoods where she lives.

Education and urban planning are central to annalise’s story. Dr. Fonza is a firm believer that a thriving regional economy is dependent upon an educated, literate, and sustainable workforce. That said, she has designed and taught courses in urban studies as well as community and neighborhood development at the University of Missouri Kansas City in the Department of Architecture, Urban Planning + Design (AUPD). She was also the first Scholar-in-Residence at the Center for Neighborhoods, which is an AUPD initiative. She is certified by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) as a substitute teacher and an adult education and literacy instructor who has assisted hundreds of adult learners attain the HiSET certificate (a test that is equivalent to the GED). She is a subcontractor with the Missouri School for the Blind and provides one-on-one support to children and families enrolled in the MoSpin program. She is both agile and experienced when it comes to community engagement. And, she has the education to add to her long list of accomplishments. In 2010, she graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a Ph.D. in Regional Planning. Her other degrees include: a Master of Public Administration, a Master of Divinity, and a Master of Urban & Regional Planning and she is a 1990 graduate of Clark Atlanta University (Bachelor’s of Arts in Political Science). Dr. Fonza is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. (’87 Sigma Chapter), and she holds the title of being the very first Miss Clark Atlanta University (89-90). As a UMC clergywoman, she held pastoral appointments in Missouri, Illinois, and Massachusetts. Her first of six episcopal appointments was in Kansas City, Missouri. But, upon embracing important deep and philosophical shifts, she voluntarily and officially returned her ordination papers or “credential” to her annual UMC conference in 2003. Today, she is openly atheist and unapologetically womanist.

Dr. Fonza self-published her first solo written work in 2019 on rebuilding black communities, a short epublication that she refers to as a womanist planning proposal. She has also published in academic journals and beyond. At conferences and workshops she presents on matters of race, religion, gender, sexuality, relationship, urban governance and community (including neighborhood) development. She is a contributor to You Are Not Alone: Black Nones, an anthology of deconversion stories by black nonbelievers, which is edited and published by Darrell C. Smith (www.blacknones.com); she is certified as a Humanist Celebrant by the American Humanist Society (located in Washington, D.C.); and, you can find her on Twitter @breatheandpush. In 2014, she was one of four ex-clergy featured in a video documentary: A Path Less Taken: From Ministry to Non-Belief and Beyond, which was filmed, edited and produced by Dr. Jim Lawrence and is available for rent or purchase on Amazon.

For inquiries or to invite Dr. Fonza to speak, please leave a comment here, or message her on Facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/Dr.Fonza. To donate to her writing and her work, please feel free to use the PayPal link on this site.

[N/B: Except where noted otherwise, all the ideas and opinions on this blogsite are the exclusive intellectual property of Dr. Annalise Fonza and they are not to be attributed to any organization or person to which she is associated or affiliated with for any purpose. And, at this time she has created only one WordPress or dot com account: this one. The unauthorized use or copying of the content from this page without permission will not be tolerated.]

Thank you so very much for taking the time to visit her blogsite!

Photo Credit: Harold D. Smith, Jr. of Kansas City, Kansas

Disclaimer: Please note that nothing that is written on any blog or publication here is meant to be taken or used as medical, psychiatric, or professional advice. These blogs are the opinions of annalise fonza who does not possess a doctorate in medicine or psychiatry. If you are in need of professional help, please seek a counselor or the appropriate professional – psychiatric or medical – for assistance.

26 thoughts on “About

  1. I read your post about deconversion and realized many similarities to my own, but I’m certainly not nearly as an amazing person as you are.

    Best of the world to you,

  2. I can only say AMAZING. If you would please contact me by email @ (mr122266@yahoo.com) for I have much to share with and learn from you. Mike Martin

  3. Greetings Dr. Fonza,

    My name is Michael Harriot, and I host a weekly podcast called “The Black One” that is available on ITunes, a free Android app and via the web. We have a wide listenership, and it is growing every day.

    The podcast tries to emulate eavesdropping in on an interesting conversation between two people. It is sometimes funny, often raw, interesting and seeks to have open dialogue with people with open minds.we have covered everything from drug addiction and homosexuality to convesations with comedians, strippers and poets.

    One topic that I admittedly am fascinated with repeatedly bring up, is the concept of religion, how black people accept it and how we perceive it. One of the fans of the podcast, who is also apparently a fan of your blog emailed me some information about you and thought that you would be great for the podcast. After reading your blog, I would wholeheartedly agree.

    Would you be interested in recording an episode of the podcast? You can listen to episodes one of three ways:

    Listen online at http://www.michaelharriot.com/#!news/chw0
    Listen on iTunes at: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/black-one-michael-harriot/id590281032?mt=2
    Or get the FREE android app at: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.TheblackOne

    Or you can just Google “The Black One with Michael Harriot.”

    I look forward to hearing from you

  4. Hi

    I was in your first class you taught at Claflin University and I just want to say that you developed in me a sense of knowledge to seek the truth of my heritage and to learn more .

    • Thank you for taking the time to write (former student from Claflin). Did you read my blog, “Let Me Weep”? Was thinking of my experience there and students like you when I wrote it! Keep on keepin on!

  5. Hi Anna! Really love your work – I’m just trying to get in touch if you could please send me an email when you get a chance. I appreciate it!

    lilyst22 at gmail

  6. I’m delighted to have discovered you today, through Twitter. Your latest essay here, “On the Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.: From an Atheist,” is inspiring. I feel I’ve found a good place and made a new friend.

  7. Hey Dr. Fonza! I always wanted to ask if you knew a Dr. Edward Murray.

    Always your student and raving fan,

    Ebony Johnson

  8. Dr. Fonza- I brought my daughters to the American Jazz Museum this past Monday for your MLK celebration. We had a wonderful time. Thank you for all your organization and you do. I am an administrator at Blue Valley High School in Overland Park. As we look into February and Black History month, we want to really make sure we are providing opportunity for our students to engage in Black History month beyond a one-time 20 minute advisory presentation. This year I am attempting to provide some different opportunities for our kids to hear from different folks and experience different activities to engage them beyond the surface. I have had conversations with Clarence Langley (professor for African American Studies at KU) and he has helped me by suggesting a screening of the documentary 13th and offered to have a follow-up discussion with students. I have reached out to Veronica Clay and may be bringing her in to share your spoken word. I would absolutely love any other ideas you have. Basically we have an hour each day where students choose how to use their time (lunch, studying, clubs, teacher help, socializing, etc…) and this is prime time to offer options for students to stop in and see/hear. I would love to have you come and speak to our students on truly any subject/theme/topic you feel would be beneficial to our students to engage in understanding of why we have Black History month, the importance of it, etc…

    Working and living in a predominately white community, I strongly believe that we do not do enough to engage our kids and community in celebrating, understanding, and learning about our African American brothers and sisters, our history, the continued struggle, and what they can do to be part of a solution for true equality for all. It isn’t because we don’t care, it is because so many I think see it as not relevant to their current experiences….we call it a little bubble down here in southern Johnson County. I have been guilty for too many years of having a desire to “do more” but not taking enough initiative to really provide some opportunities.

    So here I am, trying to take initiative and reach out. I realize you are a very busy professional and may not have anytime next month to come to our school but I would love to have you if it would work. Also- would love some other ideas. We can host musicians, artists, business folks, etc…Our kids have a variety of interests so engaging them in a subject they are already interested in, would be so great.

    Thank you so much for everything.
    Mollie McNally (memcnally@bluevalleyk12.org)

  9. SHARING REALITY, a new book on secularism and science by myself and Dale McGowan, has just been published. Half of US and Canada author’s royalties are being donated to The Clergy Project.
    If you want to write and publish a review, I will supply a copy.
    Jeff T Haley jeff@haley.net

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