The Rev. Dr. Harkins most recently served as Director of Interfaith Outreach for The Democratic National Committee, where he developed and coordinated all of the party’s engagement with faith communities and faith leaders through the 2020 presidential election cycle.
From 2015 to 2020 he served as Senior Vice President for Innovation in Public Programs at Union Theological Seminary in New York City.
During the 2012 presidential campaign, Rev. Harkins was named National Director of Faith Outreach for the Democratic National Committee, and advised the Obama Administration on a number of faith related issues.
From 1997 to 2015 Dr. Harkins was the Senior Minister of the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church in Washington, DC., where he led the congregation in initiatives ranging from community development, providing health education and access, as well as international relief and development in Rwanda, Burkina Faso, and Jamaica.
Formerly a Vice President with the North American Baptist Fellowship of the Baptist World Alliance, Dr. Harkins continues to be engaged with a number of religious and civic organizations. An active voice in the debate for comprehensive immigration reform, he has worked closely with the Immigration Policy Center, and Esperanza for America to expand the combined efforts of the African American and Hispanic communities. He has appeared in a number of media outlets, including CNN, MSNBC, Fox, and NPR, and has written op-eds appearing in The Dallas Morning News, The Washington Post, and the Sojourners blog God’s Politics.
Before beginning his pastorate at Nineteenth Street, he served as the Senior Minister of the New Hope Baptist Church of Dallas Texas. There he also served as President of the Greater Dallas Community of Churches and was a founding board member of The Dallas Leadership Foundation. He has also served on the Boards of Sojourners, Faith in Public Life, and World Relief.
His ministerial career began at the Historic Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, New York where he was a seminarian intern before becoming Assistant Minister.
Dr. Harkins has been a guest lecturer on the church and social action at a number of colleges and universities including, Rutgers, Cornell, Iona College, and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
Dr. Harkins was a contributing author for The Audacity of Faith: Christian Leaders Reflect on the Election of Barack Obama (Judson Press). He is also the Chair of the Board of Odyssey Impact Productions, whose film, Newtown, was the winner of a 2018 Peabody Award. Their production Notes from Dunblane: Lessons from a School Shooting was awarded best documentary short at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. In addition, he is an Executive Producer of the widely acclaimed documentary, The Rape of Recy Taylor, and also the upcoming documentary, A Crime on the Bayou.
He has earned a B.S. degree in Broadcasting and Film, from Boston University, a Master of Divinity degree in Church History from Union Theological Seminary, NY, and a Doctorate in Homiletics as a Proctor Booth Fellow from United Seminary, in Dayton, Ohio.
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, he and his wife Juli, a healthcare grants administrator, are the parents of two daughters Lauren and Shannon.