Rev. AJ Johnson, Vice Chair
Rev. AJ Johnson is a faith-influenced voice for urban resurgence and revival and a pace-setting champion for justice and community-wide uplift. As a trailblazer, Johnson leads The Urban Hope Refuge Church, an influential church where passionate worship and community activism meet in Hartford, Connecticut. Johnson works at the Center For Leadership and Justice as a Community Organizer. He spearheads Small Business Night Out, a network of minority-owned businesses and entrepreneurs; Calling all Brothers, a widely hailed male mentor-ship and leadership organization and Brothers Johnson 1929 Hat Company, a clothing brand reflecting strength, loyalty, and distinction.
Rev. Johnson has been a recipient of Connecticut Bar Association 2019 Citizen Of The Law, Hartford Business Journal ‘40 under 40’ honor and The Merrilee Milstein Award for Organizing, Activism & Leadership and an honoree of the 100 Men of Color Award for Leadership, Entrepreneurial Success and Community Activism. His community organizing efforts have been celebrated in notable online news platforms including TVONE, The Huffington Post and Yahoo News; several print media standard-bearers including The Hartford Courant, The Christian Science Monitor and The San Diego Union-Tribune as well as several radio and television outlets.
A bridge-builder at heart, Rev. Johnson is frequently in the company of notable men and women and unsung heroes. Johnson every opportunity as a featured speaker on social justice issues on community-action panels, workshops and national conferences to connect people to each other and inspire stronger communities. Johnson, a well-known advocate in the ‘Fight for 15’, ‘Moral Monday’, ‘Ban the Box’ and No More Slumlord movements and contributor to other causes, campaigns, and organizations.
Rev. Johnson is married to Melinda Johnson, the father of a four-year-old son Ashton William Johnson and one year old son Addison King Johnson. He is also President of The Delta Pi Sigma chapter of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. and appointed by the Connecticut Speaker of the House as Deputy Chaplain of the Connecticut General Assembly. Rev. AJ Johnson holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Religious Studies and Education from W.L. Bonner College and is currently pursuing a Masters of Arts degree from Liberty University in Organizational Management and Leadership