I miss her late night calls…
No tribute to her by me would be fitting. I thought I would just post a few notes
on the work she committed her life to.
Bobbie Johnson, R.N. was President & Founder of
January 1990– Present (22 years 11 months)
Race To Knowledge combines the performing arts, technology, science and math with health education to raise the self esteem of high risk groups. One of Race To Knowledge’s objectives is to empower youth through integrating arts activities and linking community resources and programs in African-American neighborhoods on the South Side of Chicago. Race To Knowledge employs local artists, cultural groups, and cultural institutions to assist with writing, production, and performance of these reflections. The intensive writing and one-on-one interaction with artists allows the youth to build literacy, research, conflict resolution, leadership, and group skills. Race To Knowledge is also developing a Mobile Unit for Learning in Education and Health (MULEH), which will creates physical link between sites and programs to get at health issues that contribute to illiteracy. This program is an initiative closing the “digital divide.” As a nurse working on the South Side of Chicago, Bobbie Johnson saw first hand the lack of hope that young people have about their future, and the devastating violence, drug abuse, poor academic skills, and lack of opportunity that feed a cycle of failure. Furthermore, as a high school dropout and teen mother, she had experienced them herself. Johnson’s ability to complete her education and to give back to the community was based on targeted programs that funneled her back into higher education and her involvement in music. Given that many of the programs that she benefited from no longer existed, Johnson resolved to create her own organization that could fill in the gaps left by schools and social service agencies. Since 1990 Johnson built off her extensive connections and leadership roles in anti-illiteracy, infant mortality reduction, and community development programs, as well as Black fraternal organizations, to leverage funding and in-kind support for Race To Knowledge.