1101 15th Street, NW, 6th Floor
Washington D.C. 20005
Minister Leslie Watson Malachi is the current director of African American Religious Affairs (AARA) for People for the American Way and People For the American Way Foundation. As the dDirector, Leslie is responsible for program planning and implementation of the two core programs that make up AARA -- African American Ministers Leadership Council (AAMLC – C3) and African American Ministers In Action (AAMIA – C4). She has also created four new opportunities to inform and engage faith leaders: “Healing Grace – Shepherds Gathering: A Dialogue on The Black Church, Stigma, Prejudice and Homophobia,” VESSELS civic education and participation initiative, the Micah Leadership Council for faith leaders under the age of 40, and the VASHTI health and leadership initiative for African American women and girls. AARA endeavors to build a strong association of progressive clergy, theologians, seminarians and ministry lay leaders who will encourage African American churches and communities to become more civically engaged and promote social justice programs and policies in areas of public education, health care, equal justice, civic participation and economic justice for all. Representing now 2,000 women and men from various Christian traditions across the country, leaders participate in strategic trainings, issue briefings, projects and partnerships to faithfully and effectively provide a prophetic, progressive voice and presence that counters right- wing religious rhetoric and advances a vision of “a beloved community.” AARA is essentially a ministry that works with people of faith who believe in help and not harm, power and not pain, and hope in the face of hopelessness.
Recognized by the Center For American Progress as “1 of 15 Faith Leaders to Watch in 2015,” Minister Watson is the former national policy director for the Balm In Gilead and served for nine years as the director of the Multicultural Programs Department of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice where she managed and developed La Iniciativa Latina (LIL), the Women of Color Partnership Project (WOCPP), and the National Black Church Initiative (NBCI) which included annual planning of the National Black Religious Summit on Sexuality for African American clergy and laity. Leslie has served as the national coordinator and field director for the National Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and the coordinator of the Public Policy Institute of the Citizenship Education Fund, the 501(c)3 arm of the Rainbow Coalition. She is a master trainer and has received training by several institutions including the Midwest Academy and the National MultiCultural Institute for advanced training of trainers in “Building Cultural Competency in the Workplace” and “Teaching Skills and Cultural Competency” and has provided training to over 27,000 leaders almost exclusively within the African American faith community for over 28 years.
A recipient of several awards, the one she cherishes most is the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “Drum Major For Justice” Award from the Roanoke Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 2014. Leslie is a graduate of Richmond Virginia Seminary, serves on the St. Jude Sunday of Hope Advisory Council and as a member of the ministerial staff of the Bible based, Bible taught historic Pilgrim Baptist Church in northeast Washington, DC where Reverend Dr. Louis B. Jones, II is pastor.
Phone: 202-467-2369 (direct)