The Common Good

Onleilove Alston

Onleilove (pronounced "Only Love") Alston is the faith-based organizing associate at The Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies where she organizes an interfaith coalition of leaders to provide social services and advocate for vulnerable New Yorkers. Onleilove is also a workshop facilitator, speaker, and writer.

After receiving her bachelor’s degree in Human Development and African-American studies from Penn State University, she completed a year of service with AmeriCorps Public Allies New York. In 2011, she received her Master of Divinity and Master of Social Work degrees from Union Theological Seminary and Columbia University School of Social Work, respectively.

In addition to her organizing work, she is a member of Alpha Nu Omega Inc.—a Christian sorority—and The Poverty Initiative at Union Theological Seminary which is building a movement to end poverty led by the poor. For more than 10 years, Onleilove has interned and worked for various nonprofit organizations such as Sojourners (where she was a Beatitudes Society Fellow), NY Faith & Justice, United Workers and Healthcare-Now!

She is a contributing writer for Sojourners magazine and a featured blogger on Your Black World. Onleilove’s writing has also appeared in The Black CommentatorCONSP!RE magazine, and NPR’s Onbeing blog, as well as other print and online publications. She has a passion for creating devotional materials to aid the body of Christ in holistic sanctification that leads to spiritual maturity, emotional health, and prophetic justice. Inspired by the Rev. Martin Luther King’s Poor People’s Campaign, Onleilove has co-written a series of Bible studies and devotionals with The Poverty Initiative titled, “The Last Week of Jesus, Last Year of King” in English and Spanish.

Having experienced poverty, foster care, and homelessness, she has developed a compassion for people fueled by her passion for justice, and knows that the gospel is truly “good news to the poor.” God has used communities of justice to aid Onleilove in her personal healing by showing her that God doesn’t just care for the poor, but that God wants the poor to play an active role in building the kingdom.

For her writing and activism work, Onleilove has received the Bennett Fellowship for Social Justice from Auburn Seminary, the National Association of Social Workers-NYC Scholarship for Social Justice, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Minority Coalition Young Adult Award, and the 2011 Evangelical Press Association’s Student Writer of the Year First Place Award for her Sojourners cover story: “Dethroning King Coal: Christians defend a way of life, and the earth, in Appalachia.”

Onleilove currently lives in Harlem, and has five siblings and a large extended family in both New York and North Carolina. She blogs about her journey to holistic health, faithful justice, art, and her addiction to thrifting on Wholeness4Love.

Blog Posts by Onleilove Alston

Posted by Onleilove Alston 7 weeks 6 days ago
“Princes shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God.” -Psalm 68:31The Bible is a multicultural book. This statement may sound controversial but archeology, history,...
Posted by Onleilove Alston 38 weeks 5 days ago
Summertime is "revival season" for Christians of various denominations. Traditionally revivals, or "Great Awakenings", have preceded most major movements in American society, like the Revolutionary...
Posted by Onleilove Alston 1 year 1 week ago
Whenever I hear the term Common Good I think of Thomas Paine’s infamous pamphlet Common Sense,which challenged the British government and the royal monarchy, but did not challenge the...
Posted by Onleilove Alston 1 year 13 weeks ago
As the Faith Based Organizer for the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (FPWA) — a citywide coalition of more than 300 member agencies and faith institutions — I have the privilege of...
Posted by Onleilove Alston 1 year 14 weeks ago
At 14 years old, Sydia Simmons was kicked out into the streets of New York City by her alcoholic mother, but today she is a wife, mother, and founder of the Lost Angels Society.The purpose of the...

Articles by Onleilove Alston

Hurricane Sandy vividly demonstrated the relationship between climate change, poverty, and immigration.

Christians battle King Coal to save Appalachia.

The BQE, by Sufjan Stevens. Asthmatic Kitty Records.

Seven ways to build a movement that includes poor and rich.