“My first job as a kid was cleaning toilets for my grandfather. He only had a 3rd grade education, but had his own janitorial business. It was from that first job and from my family that I learned hard work and to appreciate working people.”
Raised by his grandparents and a single mother in a working class family, Kevin Johnson is a progressive leader who has spent his life fighting to lift working families and communities out of poverty.
Kevin is the President and CEO of the workforce development organization Philadelphia OIC, founded by the late Reverend Dr. Leon Sullivan to eliminate poverty, unemployment and illiteracy. Under Kevin’s leadership, Philadelphia OIC has increased job placement to nearly 80%, has graduated over 2500 individuals in just the last 3 years, and has expanded 21st century job and education programs for low income, Philadelphia families to include banking, construction, solar energy and technology.
A public education advocate, in August 2017, Kevin opened the doors to the Philadelphia OIC Workforce Academy, an accelerated high school funded through the School District of Philadelphia’s Opportunity Network that provides a pathway to college or the workforce for students aged 16-21.
Many years before implementing successful, solution-based programs that address issues of social and economic inequity, Kevin was a student at Morehouse College where he graduated with honors. It was on the grounds of this historic institution where Kevin cultivated a social-justice and civic engagement model for ministry that focused on community outreach, individual betterment, and uplift. After graduating, he earned a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary and a Doctorate from Columbia University.
Kevin came to Philadelphia in 2007 after being recruited by the late Congressman William “Bill” Gray, III to succeed him as the senior pastor of the historic Bright Hope Baptist Church. With Kevin at the helm, the church’s community development corporation, Bridge of Hope, partnered to build a $100-million, 14-story affordable housing development in the Temple University campus corridor for students and the community. In 2015, Johnson founded Dare to Imagine Church, where his ministry has grown from 20 people in his home to a congregation of 700 members at the former site of St. Therese Church in Mt. Airy.
Kevin is married to Kimya, a former public school teacher turned labor attorney, with whom he has three children, Miles, Laila and Lena. They reside in the 3rd Congressional District.
Kevin is working to put families first. We need to end the assault on public education. We need to get more people into 21st century jobs by increasing funding to workforce development and trade programs. We must prevent people from going into debt simply to pay for healthcare. And we must stop the government from stealing a fair, living wage from workers just to give big corporations and wealthy people a tax break. Kevin is the leader who will fight for us.
Economy and Jobs
Human and Civil Rights
Environment & Energy
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
John Quincy Adams
“Service is the rent we pay for being. It is the very purpose of life, and not something you do in your spare time.”
Marian Wright Edelman