Onleilove (pronounced Onlylove) Alston was born and raised in East New York, Brooklyn. Currently, she is the executive director at PICO-Faith in New York, where she leads a multiracial and multifaith faith based organizing federation of 70 congregations representing 80,000 New Yorkers who are working to Build the Beloved City. 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.
Having experienced poverty 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.” Onleilove serves on Mayor Bill de Blasio's Clergy Advisory Council, the board of directors for Sojourners, ALIGN and on the advisory board for the Micah Institute at NY Theological Seminary. A womanist Onleilove writes and lectures on the implicit bias of colorism and its impact on African-American women and leads A Women’s Theology of Liberation and Live Free W.O.M.B. (Women Organizing out of Mass Incarceration and Brutality) for the PICO Network. In 2014 she founded Prophetic Whirlwind: Uncovering the Black Biblical Destiny to uncover the Black presence in the Abrahamic religions and is currently completing a book on this subject, that will be published in 2017. Onleilove lives in Harlem and has five siblings and a large extended family in both New York and North Carolina. She worships at Beth-El House of Yahweh a historically Black Hebraic congregation dedicated to justice in the South Bronx.