Johnaé StrongFounder of Strong Visions Productions Chicago, IL Award Year: 2021
Johnaé Strong is a writer, organizer and educator who has been working at the intersection of education, social movements and healing for over a decade. As Founder of Strong Visions Productions, a multi-media company dedicated to uplifting the stories and solutions of BIPOC leaders for self-determined communities, she has created empowering, justice-centered programming that integrates healing, education and the arts. Her deeply rooted intersectional analysis of structural and systemic racism as well as her authentic relationship-centered approach to organizing have gained her profound respect from community members and organizers across Chicago. In 2016, this work led to the ousting of Illinois State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez for the coverup of the Laquan McDonald murder. Through her Black Girls Restore(d) program, Johnaé guides Black youth impacted by state violence in developing a powerful self-identity, understanding restorative practices, and engaging in community organizing. Johnaé is a founding member and former leader of BYP100, a political organization that works for liberation for all Black people.
Johnaé is using her award to fund production for Black Girls Film, an independent feature length documentary, focused on Black women, femmes and their quest to support mental health in America. The film resulted in a partnership with Daughter Org, which provided birthright scholarships to Ghana for a group of Black femme survivors of violence in July of 2021.
She is also using her award to seed future programmatic and political education efforts as a part of an integrated social impact campaign rooted in community organizing and transformative justice.
Johnaé was featured in an op-ed about the resilience of Black women in Internews and on a webinar by FilmAid that focused on mental health and media representation.