Originally from Clarksville, Tennessee, Joanna Williams most recently worked as the New Media Associate for the Southern Poverty Law Center with their Teaching Tolerance project. She studied at Western Kentucky University where she graduated with a degree in Liberal Arts. While there, she worked for four years at her school’s independent student newspaper, the College Heights Herald, serving as their spring 2014 editor in chief. As a Bonner Leader, she worked as a Program Assistant at the ALIVE Center for Community Partnerships and assisted in furthering the development of programs such as The $100 Solution™ and the Student Ambassadors of Service.
Field placement: Dreaming Out Loud
Joanna conducted qualitative research to capture community stories around the history of food access, culture, and agriculture within northeast Ward 7 in D.C. She also examined aggregation methods with farmers in Westmoreland County, Virginia, in order to facilitate the movement of farmers of color into the D.C. wholesaling market. In addition, she managed Dreaming Out Loud’s organic urban farm in southwest D.C., reorganized their volunteer structure, and supported garden volunteers multiple times a week.
Policy placement: National League of Cities
Joanna assisted with an environmental scan of racial equity efforts in city governments across the U.S. while working on the Race, Equity, and Leadership (REAL) Initiative. She developed a monitoring and evaluation dashboard cities can use to track racial equity indicators over time. Additionally, she conducted research on progressive local policies that advance racial equity and wrote city profiles to highlight best practices for city leaders.
Hunger Free Community Report
Urban Agriculture as Activism: A Guide for Community Organizers is a guidebook that details how community residents can turn urban agriculture spaces into hubs for community organizing. Using the Dreaming Out Loud Garden and Dix Street Garden in DC as case studies, the guide explains how food sovereignty principles are tools for community empowerment.