Crossroads News

Derric J. Johnson Given City of Santa Monica Black Excellence Award

Founding director of the Equity & Justice Institute honored at inaugural event.
Derric J. Johnson, the founding director of the Crossroads School Equity & Justice Institute, was one of 10 professionals honored at the first Black Excellence Community Mixer. The awards were bestowed by the City of Santa Monica’s Black History Month Committee at a Feb. 25 ceremony on the Third Street Promenade.
Event attendees included community leaders and more than 100 local residents, who enjoyed speeches by the honorees; a traditional West African dance and drum performance; and food vendors. You can read coverage of the event by the Santa Monica Daily Press here.
Derric has helmed the Equity & Justice Institute since its launch in 2018.
“I am humbled to be recognized by the City of Santa Monica and the City’s Government Alliance on Race and Equity during their inaugural Black Excellence Awards ceremony,” he says. “And specifically, to receive the kudos during Black History Month. In accepting the award, I honor the life and loss of Katherine Johnson, NASA mathematician and winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Her legacy of excellence—black excellence—was the catalyst for breaking down racial, gender and social barriers to achieve greatness.”

View a video of the event here.
Under Derric’s leadership, the Institute has participated in local Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations, co-hosted youth activism events and continues to develop opportunities for student leadership both on and off campus. The Institute’s Younes and Soraya Nazarian Equity & Justice Distinguished Lecture Series has become a destination for members of the greater community who wish to hear from today’s most respected activists, historians and leaders in social justice movements. More than 700 people attended the March 4 talk by Robin DiAngelo, author of “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism.”