Special Spotlight Edition: MCU's New Executive Director

January 31, 2024
Emmaline Giles

MCU is in a new season of change with its recent transition of leadership from David Gerth’s 12-year tenure as our longest serving director. In the fall of October 2023, DeMarco K. Davidson stepped up from his role as MCU’s Voter Program Lead to become MCU's new Executive Director. DeMarco’s dedication to MCU’s mission and justice work began in 2012 as a volunteer leader supporting a signature petition campaign, continued in 2015 for the Sacred Conversations campaign, and eventually was hired on as a part-time organizer in 2017 to manage people for the Get the Vote Out Campaign.

Since joining MCU full-time in 2018, he has worked on several more winning campaigns including Prosecutor Attorney Wesley Bell, the CLEAN Initiative, Raise Up Minimum Wage, and Medicaid Expansion. Impressively, during this time, DeMarco also ran for US congress and earned a Masters in Divinity from Eden Theological Seminary in 2018 with an emphasis in Liberation Theology & Faith Based Community Organizing. 

DeMarco’s dedication to community, service, and leadership stems back to his youth. While in college, he served as the Regional Vice President for Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., started several businesses, and co-founded the Black Man's Think Tank of the Missouri University of Science and Technology. Following his undergraduate degree, DeMarco served a diversity of roles that lend to his valuable experience and skills.

He worked as a teacher in the Hazelwood School District, an After-School Director with Providence Counseling, a Youth Advisor for Kappa League, a Project Manager for the City of Chicago, a Field Organizer for political campaigns including in inner-city St. Louis for President Obama in which he was recognized by his alma-mater’s alumni magazine, and served as a mentor to many youth. Additionally, in the wake of Michael Brown’s murder in Ferguson, DeMarco founded the Michael Brown Jr. Memorial Fund in August 2014 and volunteered as the Executive Director for the Michael Brown Sr. Chosen For Change Foundation from 2015 until 2022.

In response to DeMarco’s leadership transition, MCU’s Board President, Wendy Bruner shared her support: 

In honor of his MCU predecessors, DeMarco aims to re-ground MCU’s efforts around shared values to build MLK’s “Beloved Community”: where everyone is cared for, absent of poverty, hunger, and hate. He strives to re-energize our staff, leaders, and members around MCU’s founding stories, principles, and mission of putting our faith in action. At MCU’s recent Annual Meeting and Issue Summit, DeMarco announced new goals for this season of change in 2024. 

His speech highlighted both the leadership and narrative shift for MCU’s issue work as it adopts a regional clustered-based approach for faith-based organizing in 2024. This approach is not new for MCU; it’s a return to our organization’s roots. In his first month of leadership, he met with MCU founding members to root himself in MCU’s organization's history, progress, and community impact. Of the many learnings he gained, the approach of organizing congregation-based teams by regional clusters stood out as integral to MCU’s past success.

With a clustered approach, each staff organizer will now be assigned to a designated region in which they will organize within to connect with its corresponding congregations and faith leaders. This approach ensures MCU can be more responsive in its efforts to develop deeply rooted relationships within a concentrated region around our multiple issue areas, whichever a congregation feels called to organize for change, including: Environmental Justice, Voter Engagement, Immigration Justice, and Transformative Justice. 

As the new Executive Director and Voter Program Lead for Metropolitan Congregations United, DeMarco’s goal is to organize people of faith and voters in St. Louis to develop just policy towards breaking the school-to-prison pipeline and unifying urban and rural citizens of Missouri. He believes that congregations can and should be a galvanizing force to building powerful, self-sustaining communities. He strives to ensure a stronger future in building a united ecosystem of congregation-based power throughout the Greater St. Louis region and Missouri.

MCU puts faith into action by developing leaders who move their congregations, organizations and communities to change public policy for the common good.
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