Dr. Michael W. Waters

Peacemaker of the Year Award:
Rev. Dr. Michael W. Waters



Dr. Michael W. Waters:
Pastor - Professor - Author - Activist - Social Commentator

The Reverend Dr. Michael W. Waters is Lead Pastor of Joy Tabernacle and Agape Temple African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Churches in Dallas, Texas. As pastor, professor, author, activist, and social commentator, Waters’ words of hope and empowerment inspire national and international audiences.

Waters’ work and ministry has appeared on ABC Nightline, BBC Newsnight, CBS This Morning, CNN, C-SPAN, HuffPost Live, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, MSNBC Live, The NBC Nightly News, NPR, PBS Newshour, The TODAY Show, and VICE on HBO. He has also been featured or mentioned in The Associated Press, BuzzFeed, The Christian Century, D Magazine, Ebony Magazine, Epitome Magazine, Faith and Leadership, GQ Magazine, The Huffington Post, The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, Reading Religion, Sojourners Magazine, Texas Monthly, Yahoo! News, and The Washington Post among other media outlets. Waters earned bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees with honors from Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, Texas where he presently serves as an adjunct faculty member at the SMU Perkins School of Theology. He has lectured widely at such esteemed institutions as Duke University and the University of Toronto, and he has been invited to address such noted organizations as American Airlines, Inc., the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the United States House of Representatives, and the World Methodist Conference.

Waters is the author of the critically-acclaimed, national award-winning books Freestyle: Reflections on Faith, Family, Justice, and Pop Culture and Stakes Is High: Race, Faith, and Hope for America, winner of the 2018 National Wilbur Award in Non-fiction. His highly-anticipated forthcoming children’s books by Flyaway Books include Liberty’s Civil Rights Road Trip and For Beautiful Black Boys Who Believe in a Better World, the latter in partnership with the Muhammad Ali Center. A fifth book As Your Poets Have Spoken: Faith, Hip Hop, and Proclamation will be released by Chalice Press. He has been a contributing author to the Feasting on the Gospels Bible Commentary, Becoming Fire: Spiritual Writing from Rising Generations, For Such a Time as This: Hope and Forgiveness after the Charleston Massacre, Preaching as Resistance: Voices of Hope, Justice, and Solidarity, Preaching in/and the Borderlands and When Kids Ask Hard Questions: Faith-Filled Responses for Tough Topics, among other publications.

The immediate past board chair of the City of Dallas’ Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center - which offers comprehensive social services and cultural, educational, and recreational opportunities to over 300,000 Dallas citizens annually - Waters previously served as co-chair of Faith Forward Dallas at Thanks-Giving Square, a broad and diverse coalition of Dallas-area faith leaders, which was named 2017 Peacemaker Organization of the Year by the Dallas Peace and Justice Center. The founding director of the SMU Civil Rights Pilgrimage, a traveling seminar to cities and sites significant to the American Civil Rights Movement, he presently serves as a member of the Executive Board of the Perkins School of Theology at SMU among other board and commission appointments.

Waters is the recipient of numerous honors, including: State Fair of Texas Honorable Mention Award co-recipient of the Juanita Craft Humanitarian Catalyst/Community Builder Award; “Community Leader of the Year,” DFW Council on American-Islamic Relations; “Pastor of the Year,” Center for Theological Activism; “Humanitarian of the Year,” South Dallas Business and Professional Women’s Club; Dallas Business Journal “40 Under 40”; B’nai B’rith Harold M. Kaufman Memorial Award in Social Ethics; and the William K. McElvaney Award in Peace and Justice. Waters is also a recipient of Southern Methodist University’s Distinguished Alumni Emerging Leader Award and the Distinguished Alumni Award of Mirabeau B. Lamar High School in Houston, Texas.

He is married to Atty. Yulise Reaves Waters, director of Dallas Programs for the Lone Star Justice Alliance. They are the proud parents of three children: Michael Jeremiah, 13, Hope Yulise, 10, and Liberty Grace, 7.



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