Damon "Shuja" Johnson

Damon "Shuja" Johnson

Black Men Speak, Inc.


Fall 2021

Damon "Shuja" Johnson (he/him) was born and raised in Oakland, California. Over the years, Damon has made an impact in his community through social and civic services and is the founder of Black Men Speak, Inc. an organization promoting healing and restorative justice to Black and Brown men and women.

What excites you about your work?

Empowerment of the African America mental health community, as well as working with communities of color.

Black Men Speak, Inc specializes at the intersection of restorative justice, cultural representation, and mental health access for Black and Brown people. Our programs center the 8 dimensions of wellness and support the whole individual in a restorative manner.

What feels rich and abundant in your work?

Creating new programs and building capacity within the Black Men Speak organization. I'm excited about the new Forensic Peer Specialist program development.

We live in a world where Black men are constantly dehumanized and devalued; ableism is one head of the multi-headed demon we face. To do this work, we recognize the need to meet people where they are, whether they be disabled, or with limited ability, mentally and physically. BMS has invested in collective freedom by removing ourselves from the isolation imposed on us by society. Black men, especially those who are disabled, share space offered here to find wellness and clarity through their previously silenced voices. But in order to do that, we have to provide people with access.

We live in a world where Black men are constantly dehumanized and devalued; ableism is one head of the multi-headed demon we face. To do this work, we recognize the need to meet people where they are.”

Who do you dedicate your work to?

I dedicate my work to all of the other brothers and sister who are still incarcerated and still in the prison system. Black Men Speak is a program that is waiting for you with open arms and resources when you get home.

Who inspires you, who are you learning from, what books are you reading?

My Grand Mother Grandfather, Mr. and Mrs. Stillwell and the many unsung common folks.

Book: Vision For Black Men, by Dr. Naneem Akbar and many more.

How can people reading this support the work you are doing?

Subscribe to POCC newsletter,  visit Black Men Speak.org, and watch the The Wendel Al-meen Show (CH. 29) on Youtube.

What something you didn’t know, that now you understand differently with wellness?

Young age vs old age and the pros and cons.

What is your own wellness routine? How do you find balance?

Time to myself and work on cars of mine.

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