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Joia Erin Thornton
National Policy Strategist

Joia Erin Thornton

Joia Erin Thornton is an avid civil rights advocate, writer, historian, and policy leader. Ms. Thornton has a unique hometown experience growing up in both Memphis, Tennessee and New Orleans, Louisiana; two cities on the mighty Mississippi river riddled with class, race, and educational disparities, that have heavily impacted her passion and work toward the continued progression of civil and human rights.

An ample amount of her work is dedicated to grasstops organizing, program implementation, and model design in state and national policy reform. A few of her most notable speaking engagements and projects include the National Habeas Seminar: Clemency & Coalition Building, NAACP Legal Defense Fund-Capital Punishment Conference, Federal Resource Counsel: Community Lawyering Panel, the National Civil Rights Museum Journey to Justice Symposium, and The NBA Cares-Memphis Grizzlies social justice panel. She has also launched the Faith Leaders of Color Coalition or (FLOCC), a group of BIPOC faith leaders concerned about the use of the death penalty state and nationwide.

Ms. Thornton has a Bachelor of arts from Louisiana State University in English and French and a Master of Public Administration-Policy & Legal Studies from the University of Memphis. Most recently, Ms. Thornton has joined the 2021 Leadership Memphis Executive cohort class. Ms. Thornton has fervent passion and heart to end systemic biases in all socio-economic sectors.