Derrick Johnson

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Derrick Johnson


Derrick Johnson is a Mississippi activist. He serves as Founder and Executive Director of One Voice, Inc and State President for the Mississippi State Conference NAACP. He founded One Voice Inc. in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, in order to improve the quality of life for African Americans and other disenfranchised communities by increasing civic engagement in the formation of public policy. One Voice sponsors an annual Black Leadership Summit for elected and appointed officials and runs the Mississippi Black Leadership Institute, a nine month program to support local leadership development for emerging and established community leaders between the ages of 25 - 45. [1]

Background

Born in Detroit, Mr. Johnson attended Tougaloo College in Jackson, MS. He then continued onto Houston, TX to receive his JD from the South Texas College of Law. In later years, Mr. Johnson furthered his training through fellowships with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, the George Washington University School of Political Management, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He has served as an annual guest lecturer at Harvard Law School, lending his expertise to Professor Lani Guinier’s course on social movements, and as an adjunct professor at Tougaloo College.

Mr. Johnson is a veteran activist who has dedicated his career to defending the rights and improving the lives of Mississippians. As State President of the NAACP Mississippi State Conference, he led critical campaigns for voting rights and equitable education. He successfully managed two bond referendum campaigns in Jackson, MS that brought $150 million in school building improvements and $65 million towards the construction of a new convention center, respectively. As a regional organizer at the Jackson-based non-profit, Southern Echo, Inc., Mr. Johnson provided legal, technical, and training support for communities across the South.

In recognition for his service to the state of Mississippi, the Chief Justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court appointed Mr. Johnson to the Mississippi Access to Justice Commission, and the Governor of Mississippi appointed him Chair of the Governor’s Commission for Recovery, Rebuilding, and Renewal after devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Mr. Johnson founded One Voice Inc. to improve the quality of life for African Americans through civic engagement training and initiatives. One Voice has spawned an annual Black Leadership Summit and the Mississippi Black Leadership Institute, a nine month training program for community leaders.[2]

NAACP

On October 21, 2017, the executive committee of the NAACP National Board of Directors elected Derrick Johnson President and CEO. Derrick Johnson formerly served as vice chairman of the NAACP National Board of Directors as well as state president for the Mississippi State Conference NAACP.

A longstanding member and leader of the NAACP, Mr. Johnson will guide the Association through a period of re-envisioning and reinvigoration.[3]

National Leading From the Inside Out Alum

Derrick Johnson, State President Mississippi NAACP, was a 2008 Rockwood Leadership Institute National Leading From the Inside Out Alum.[4]

Meeting on Community Organizing

A "Meeting on Community Organizing, Civic Participation & Racial Justice" - organized by the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity December 2011, Washington, DC.

Attendees

Organizing the Recovery

Organizing the Recovery: State-Based Activism on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was held at Capitol Skyline Hotel 10 “I” Street SW, Washington, DC May 10-12, 2010.[6]

Participants included Derrick Johnson - Community Policy Research Training Initiative.

Electing Chokwe Lumumba

In May 2013 Bob Wing traveled from his home in Durham to spend eight days working to elect Chokwe Lumumba during the runoff election. Wing thankedd Ajamu Dillahunt, Makani Themba and Derrick Johnson for their editorial suggestions for a People's World article on Lumumba's victory.[7]

Southern Elections Fund

Southern Elections Fund, as of January 3, 2018;[8][9]

Board

March on Mississippi

Citing a pattern of civil rights abuses by Nissan against its predominantly African-American workforce in Mississippi, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, actor Danny Glover, NAACP President Cornell William Brooks and hundreds of workers, civil rights leaders, and social justice advocates converged on the automaker’s factory in Canton, March 4, 2017, to demand that the company respect its workers’ right to vote for a union free from fear and intimidation.

The March on Mississippi – expected to be the largest protest to hit the Magnolia State in years – follows a series of rallies at Nissan dealerships that swept across the South last month.

“I am proud to join in fighting to give workers at Nissan’s Canton, Mississippi, plant the justice, dignity and the right to join a union that they deserve,” said Sen. Sanders. “Nissan has union representation at 42 out of its 45 plants around the world. The American South should not be treated differently. What the workers at the Nissan plant in Mississippi are doing is a courageous and enormously important effort to improve their lives.”

The march was organized by the Mississippi Alliance for Fairness at Nissan (MAFFAN), a coalition of civil rights leaders, ministers and worker advocates. In addition to Sen. Sanders, Glover and Brooks, a diverse coalition of politicians and civil rights leaders including U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, former Ohio State Sen. Nina Turner, Mississippi NAACP President Derrick Johnson, and Sierra Club President Aaron Mair joined the march.

“Powerful corporations like Nissan are the poster-child for America’s rigged economy,” said Danny Glover. “Nissan’s arrival in Canton promised good jobs for the community, but instead the company has committed rampant safety and health violations and denied its workers their basic right to vote for a union free from fear and intimidation. Nissan workers in Canton have my full support for their fight for fairness and respect at the workplace.”

The March on Mississippi began with pre-march speeches by Sanders, Glover and others at 12:30 p.m. CST at the Canton Sportsplex, 501 Soldiers Colony Road, in Canton. Protestors then marched approximately two miles to Nissan’s assembly plant to deliver a message to the company: Workers’ rights equal civil rights.[10]

No Trump

Chokwe Antar Lumumba, Jackson, Mississippi’s revolutionary mayor, would not be sharing the stage with President Donald Trump at the grand opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum this December 9 2017.

“I believe that Trump’s presence is a distraction. His policies don’t reflect his statements that this is a movement that will bring people together. Trump has not demonstrated a continuing dedication to the ideals the civil rights movement upholds,” Lumumba said

Trump will no longer be speaking at the museum opening—since the announcement that he would was met with justifiable rage and disgust—but he will still be in attendance.

To add further insult to injury, Lumumba learned that he would also not have the opportunity to speak at the historic event.

“I had some words that I wanted to say,” Lumumba said, “but when I found out that I wasn’t going to have the opportunity to speak, I decided that I didn’t want to share the stage with Trump.”

Instead, Lumumba will hold a press conference with U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and NAACP President Derrick Johnson. The conference will take place at the same time as the museum opening.

U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), will also not be in attendance because of Trump’s "toxic" presence.

“President Trump’s attendance and his hurtful policies are an insult to the people portrayed in this civil rights museum,” Thompson and Lewis said in a joint statement.[11]

References