JoAnn Watson is a native Detroiter, and has been honored as a “Distinguished Alumnus” of the University of Michigan. She is the Associate Pastor of West Side Unity Church & is Host of the Radio/TV show: “Wake Up Detroit”! She regularly appears on The Nationally broadcast Word Network and 910 AM Radio, Adell Broadcasting; as well as Comcast Cable 91 WHPR Television. She was formerly: Detroit City Council Member, Detroit NAACP Director, Detroit YWCA Director, YWCA of the USA Assistant Executive Director and Public Liaison for Congressman John Conyers.
She holds an Honorary Doctorate, is a College Professor at Wayne County Community College, is founding President of the National Association of Black Talk Show Hosts, Inc. and Serves on the Advisory Board for American Girl.
Watson was a delegate to the 2001 U. N. World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa & the 1989 Women for A Meaningful Summit in Russia.
Watson has received hundreds of recognition awards.
Watson was recognized by The Nation Magazine in 2009 as “the most valuable local elected official in the USA.” As a workaholic legislator, Watson sponsored thousands of laws, including: “Water Affordability Plan” to help low-income citizens avoid water shut-offs; a law banning texting or talking while driving; ban on smoking in public places; resolution to mandate summer jobs for youth; “Bank on Detroit” program to promote financial health & wealth; Paradise Valley Business District to promote the economic well-being of Detroit’s Black Businesses, Cost-Recovery Ordinance to re-coup millions annually from utilities whose downed power lines are monitored by Detroit Police & Fire Fighters; 15 points added to employment applications of City residents seeking city jobs; a “Marshall Plan” to fund the economic re-structuring of the City; among others.
Rev. Watson is a member of the National African American Reparations Commission, and was a contributing author to “Should America Pay?”, the landmark publication on Reparations published in 2003.
She has served as chair of the Detroit chapter of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (NCOBRA) & a long-time member of N’COBRA’s national board. She is featured in the 2002 scholarly publication, “Seven Women who are National Leaders on Reparations”.
Watson was a featured speaker at the Sept. 18, 2015 Congressional Black Caucus Judiciary Hearing in Washington, DC; convened by Congressman John Conyers; And she addressed Dr Maulana Karenga’s NGUZO SABA Conference, celebrating it’s 50th Anniversary in Los Angeles, on Sept. 25, 2015.
Rev Dr JoAnn Watson is the daughter of an African Methodist Episcopal Minister (her mother) & the eldest of 10 born to Jefferson Nichols, Sr. and Rev. Lestine Kent Nichols. She is the mother of 4, (Damon, Adwoa Nefertari, Stephen B., Maya) & grandmother of 4,(Jendayi, Troy, Damon Jr., Carolyn Marie).
She counts among her mentors: Coleman A Young, Erma L Henderson, Rosa Parks, CT Vivian, John Conyers, Dorothy Height, Ruth Mosley, Bernadine Denning, Imari Obadele(aka Richard Henry), Gaidi Obadele (aka Milton Henry), Claudia House Morcom, Dick Gregory, Charles H. Wright, Beulah Work, Betty Cain Lackey, Horace Sheffield, Jr., Tom Turner, Carl Breeding, Claud Young, Leonard Jeffries, Noah Brown, Gil Maddox, “Reparations” Ray Jenkins, Kwame Atta and others.
Rev. Dr. JoAnn Watson is a laborer in the vineyard with Dr. Ron Daniels, Dr. Claud Anderson, Hon. Dorothy Tilman, Dr. Ray Winbush, MLK III, Dr. Gloria House, Dr. Iva Carruthers, Helen Moore, Paul Taylor, Dr.Maulana Karenga, Attorney Derrick Humphries, Judith Griffin, Teresa Kelly, Rev. Bill Wylie Kellerman, Martha Reeves & Aretha Franklin, among others.