Our Founder, Dr. Carmen R. Johnson, epitomizes the unwavering spirit of resilience and fortitude. Her journey has been nothing short of a harrowing odyssey, enduring relentless physical, mental, and systemic abuse within the federal court and prison system. Carmen emerged from this torment deeply scarred, having navigated five grueling years of psychological torment, from traumatic raids to relentless trials, followed by an additional three years of brutal physical abuse in a prison camp in West Virginia. The aftermath left her haunted by chronic PTSD and debilitating anxiety.
In her darkest moments, Carmen found a rock-solid pillar of support in her sister, who tirelessly worked to reintegrate her into society while ensuring she received vital mental health treatment. Carmen’s mantra, “Do something to justify your existence. Together we can create the future,” stands as an indomitable testament to her unyielding resilience in the face of unimaginable adversity.
Prior to her unjust sabbatical, Carmen was a prominent humanitarian, philanthropist, and civic leader, leaving an indelible mark on the Washington Metropolitan Area over 25 years. As a certified Financial Educator, she mentored over 1,000 youth and empowered 5,000 plus adults with financial literacy, promoting independence through business ownership and prudent budgeting. Her expertise in credit counseling and wealth-building was widely recognized, cementing her legacy as a community leader, and champion of financial and social empowerment.
Carmen remains unwavering in her commitment to educating and uplifting youth, seniors, returning citizens, abused women and girls, while actively combating the social and civic injustices that hinder family prosperity. For her, financial responsibility and generational wealth lie at the core of community and family success. She remains dedicated to dismantling the culture of low-income streams and credit unworthiness, especially among minority populations in urban neighborhoods plagued by redlining and exorbitant interest rates.
Since her unjust ordeal, Carmen has harnessed a new, profound passion in her work, stemming from her painful but unique experience with the injustice system. She is now a published author, her book titled “The Pretense of Justice,” and she devotes her time to imparting her wisdom to law students, urging them to be great attorneys and judges with unwavering moral compasses. She shares her firsthand experiences of the courtroom’s injustices and racial disparities, emphasizing the importance of preventing others from enduring what she went through.
Even after all she has endured, Carmen remains a forward thinker and a stalwart visionary leader, maintaining an enviable and stellar reputation as a tireless advocate for communities that are caught up in a net of voiceless disparity. Her visionary leadership employs cutting-edge technology to navigate the challenging terrain of legal entanglements that often impede progress in the community.
Carmen is a highly sought-after speaker, offering personalized guidance to a diverse array of individuals impacted by social, civic, and injustice issues. She recognizes that there is no one-size-fits-all solution and is dedicated to breaking down barriers to individual and familial prosperity. Her special passion lies in mentoring, educating, and advocating for prison and justice reform, grounded in her personal experiences. Carmen collaborates with community members, organizations, agencies, and attorneys, contributing to diversion programs, participatory defense, post-conviction initiatives, and supporting returning citizens.
She also engages with elected officials, delegates, senators, and congresspeople, tirelessly advocating for prison and justice reform. Carmen has delivered lectures, speeches, and developed multiple curriculums that are based on her book “The Pretense of Justice” for colleges and universities across the country in fields of study such as Criminal Justice, Sociology, and Psychology, all while promoting the dismantlement of draconian laws. In her address to law students, Carmen imparts words of wisdom, urging them to become great attorneys and judges while holding fast to their moral compasses and always doing the right thing in the courtroom. She fervently hopes to prevent anyone else from enduring the injustices she suffered.
Carmen dedicates her days to the community with those who suffer from the injustices of this system, racial disparities, social inequities, civic engagement and people suffering from mental health. Her nights are personally filled with tears and dreams of vindication or a full presidential pardon, but until then, her unwavering goal is to continue fighting for the voiceless in our community, in our country, and the world.