Jonathan L. Allen (M.T.S. ’16) has moved quickly from one challenge to the next. After graduating from Perkins in 2016, he went to law school at Boston University, and graduated in May. Allen was selected out of nearly 8,000 graduates from Boston University to share his faith perspective through a “This I Believe” address given at Marsh Chapel during the Interdenominational Commencement Service on May 12. Watch the address here.
Allen is not ready to rest on his laurels — just before graduation, he informally announced his candidacy for District 9 for Boston City Council, which covers the Brighton and Allston communities.
“I was preparing for final exams and collecting signatures to get on the ballot at the same time,” Jonathan said. “Now we are canvassing, knocking on doors and getting out in the streets and using creative marketing to reach people.”
One example of creative marketing: distributing community cards with information on how City Council functions, where to vote and available resources.
“It’s a way to begin to address ‘information injustice’ – the fact that some people don’t have access to resources and opportunities because they lack information,” he said. Running for public office, he adds, feels a lot of like ministry. Allston-Brighton is home to many students, with over 60 percent of the population between the ages of 18-34.
“This district has never had a person of color represent it,” he said. “For many people there’s the hope for change for more equitable representation.”
While at Perkins, Jonathan was selected to spend his last semester in D.C. as part of the National Capital Semester for Seminarians, an immersion in politics, government and faith offered at Wesley Theological Seminary. He served as a legislative aide to Rep. Bobby Rush. The program is co-directed by Mike McCurry, former White House Press Secretary under Bill Clinton.
“I saw how the institution of the church impacted policymaking as well as how the personal spiritualities of legislators played a role,” he said. “Our laws very much influenced by faith; we are ‘One Nation Under God;” our money is inscribed with ‘In God We Trust.’ Our morals and tenets are connected and rooted in faith and religion.”
Jonathan is running in a field of several candidates. The preliminary election is September 24; the top two candidates will advance to the November 5 general election. For updates, visit his campaign website at jonathanforboston.com.