Rev. Debra J. Hopkins

"Voice for Change"

       A native New Yorker and a proud Trans Woman of Color, Debra J. Hopkins is a licensed non-denominational minister who has been actively involved in ministry through pastoral care, writing, and activism for over four decades. She is the Founding Pastor of Essentials for Life Ministries, a Non-denominational Online ministry focused on spiritual renewal and wholeness in a fragmented world.

Reverend Hopkins is also the Founder & Executive Director of There’s Still Hope, a non-profit organization that provides Transitional Housing in the Charlotte, NC area for Transgender adults living homeless. Traveling around the country advocating for the under-served people of our LGBTQIA communities, facilitating workshops as an inspirational-motivational speaker & teacher; participating in educational conferences and Town Hall discussions. Debra is a frequent speaker at colleges & universities.

   She also finds time to volunteer her services with several local organizations fighting discrimination and hated. She remains quite passionate about communicating the Truths of God’s Word in a creative, highly-relevant way that continues to actively promote the power of the human spirit, and the ability of each of us have to define and manage our lives in a positive, productive manner. She serves as a board member for Ministries Beyond Welcome. She is the recipient of the Freedom Center for Social Justice – Builder of Bridges award {December 2018} as well as the Human Rights Campaign’s Pioneer award {February 2019} and Transfaith’s 2019 Minister Bobbie Jean Baker Award.

   Reverend Hopkins has been a resident of Mecklenburg County for the past 10 years. She's earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Management and her Masters of Theology degree from New York Theological Seminary. She is the proud parent of three adult children and eight beautiful grandchildren. She is also the author of three books.


As an activist, Debra believes “words have POWER” and she believes we can all be a real “Voice for Change” through action, activism, and community involvement that will help put an end to the social and economic discrimination that’s ever present in this country.


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P.O. Box 9039

Charlotte, NC 28299