Joia Erin Thornton
Joia an avid civil rights advocate, writer, historian, and policy leader. Joia 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 which have heavily impacted her passion and work toward the progression of civil and human rights.
An ample amount of her work is dedicated to grasstops organizing, program implementation, and model design for state and national policy reform. A few of her most notable speaking engagements and projects include the NAACP Legal Defense Fund – Capital Punishment Conference, the National Civil Rights Museum Journey to Justice Symposium, and The NBA Cares-Memphis Grizzlies social justice panel.
Joia 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, Joia was selected as a cohort member of the 2021 Leadership Memphis Executive class. Joia’s fervent passion is to end systemic biases in socio-economic sectors.