Please feel free to provide a short bio about yourself or the work of your organization (no more than 3 paragraphs)
I have ten years of experience developing and coordinating programs that connect arts and media with youth leadership development and community activism. Most recently, I founded the Visions to Peace Project, a youth leadership and movement-building project based in Washington, D.C. The Visions to Peace Project uses the tools of arts, media, education and organizing to support youth, communities and organizations in building safety and peace through creative community action, rather than reliance on policing, prisons, and punitive policies. The project was founded during my tenure as a 2007 Soros Justice Advocacy Fellow with the Open Society Institute.
I recently completed my PhD in American Studies at the University of Maryland – College Park. I also hold a Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies and a Certificate in Teaching Excellence. I hold two Bachelors degrees from the University of Missouri-Columbia - a Bachelor of Journalism in news-editorial journalism with a minor in political science and a Bachelor of Arts in interdisciplinary studies with an emphasis in Black studies.
I have been blessed to spend time in a number of countries, including a six-week stay in Brazil during high school, a semester at the University of Ghana – Legon during college and three weeks in Nairobi, Kenya during graduate school as part of a leadership development program focusing on peace, economic justice, and community organizing. In January 2010, I am participating in a dialogue and training program in Rwanda focused on human rights advocacy and peacebuilding efforts among youth. I will also work with human rights, peacebuilding, and youth leadership organizations based in Kigali, Rwanda as well as Nairobi, Kenya.
Please list the countries and/or regions in which you (or your organization) have direct and significant expertise
United States, Ghana
What is your current country of residence (or location of your organization)?
What is your current job (and organization) and/or where and what field are you studying?
How many years professional experience do you have ?
Which are your primary sectoral areas of expertise (or the primary sectoral areas of your organization) ?
Culture, Education, Facilitation, Media, Social Entreprenuership
Which are your primary skills areas(or the primary skill areas of your organization)?
Advocacy, Curriculum Development, Program Design, Program Implemenation, Research, Qualitative Skills, Training
What are some of your current areas of research (if any)?
- Urban peace education
- Violence against marginalized youth (esp. Black youth in urban communities)
- Transformative justice (Transformative, Community-based strategies for safety and justice)
- Carceral studies (critical prison studies)
If appropriate feel free to list several of your (or your organization's) publications
Re-Visioning Violence: How Black Youth Advance Critical Understandings of Violence in Climates of Criminalization by Johonna R. McCants
This doctoral dissertation examines how Black youth in the U.S. have used hip hop music and community organizing to advance their own critical understandings of violence, while challenging discourses and understandings of violence that criminalize and scapegoat young people. The dissertation provides scholars with conceptual and methodological approaches for future scholarship on youth, violence, and safety. It also informs urban youth policy and grassroots organizing for transformative justice, a vision and practice of attaining safety and justice through personal and social transformation, rather than reliance on the criminal legal system.
Comment Wall (3 comments)
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Hello Sister, My entire trip was great though I became abit sick while in Phoenix Arizona. All ended well and I have already submitted my report to the US Embassy. I did not know about the alternatives to violence project av just checked it through email and it is a great project. I really want to know more about it. This is something so great considering my line of work and where I work.
Lets talk about it, I can see that they have a project here in Kenya.
Habari Yako! I am sure you heard this alot while in Kenya. I am a Kenyan woman living and working with women and girls in Kibera, Nairobi. I really want us to share more and joint efforts in promoting peace and coexistence among community groups. What do you think?
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