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Leslie Watson Malachi

Director of African American Religious Affairs

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 director, 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.

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