About Me

Dr. Vernon Damani Johnson was a faculty member in the Department of Political Science at Western Washington University from 1986-2021. His research interests include:  the politics of development, African politics, and race and public policy.  In addition to teaching courses in those subjects, Dr. Johnson led summer service-learning classes to South Africa that involved Western students in Political Science and Human Services and Rehabilitation in the work of local NGOs.  He served as the Program Director for the Munro Institute for Civic Education from 2015-2021.  He was founding editor-in-chief of the African Journal of Governance and Development from 2011-2018. In addition to his academic pursuits, Professor Johnson was on the advisory committee to Reverend Jesse Jackson’s Washington Presidential Campaign in 1988 and served on the Steering Committee of the Washington State Rainbow Coalition from 1988-92.  When the anti-government militia movement swept into the region in the 1990s, he helped found the Whatcom Human Rights Task Force and chaired its board from 1997-2000. He also was President of the board of the Northwest Coalition for Human Dignity, a regional human rights organization, from 2000 to 2003. Following the murder of George Floyd Dr. Johnson was appointed to the Washington Racial Justice Consortium, a forum devised by the Washington State Supreme Court to examine systemic racism at all levels of judicial processes in Washington. Awards Dr. Johnson has received include the WWU Philip E. Sharpe Community Engagement Award (2015) and the Rosemary and Howard Harris Lifetime Peacemaker Award, Whatcom Peace and Justice Center (2020). In 2003 his name was inscribed on the “Wall of Tolerance,” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, in Montgomery Alabama.

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