Small in Stature-Big in Substance. Meet Joia Erin

During Women’s History Month, a woman I would like to feature is  the one and only Ms. Joia Erin. I absolutely love her because she’s all things fabulous and has a heart that reaches many. She uses her many platforms to spread awareness around a variety of topics. Don’t  think this small-framed chick is just another quiet soul passing through. Those that know better knows she makes up for her small stature in power that’s relevant and useful in helping to advance the efforts of work to help the disenfranchised, the lost, the least, the left out, the left behind, and the looked over.  If you ask me, she’s an upcoming preacher-but that’s another topic and story for another day.

LaShundra Richmond: Hi Joia! Now, I know that you’re everywhere these days, but can you give us your official role with Agape.

Joia Erin: My current role is Program Specialist at Agape Child & Family Services.

LR: I’ve known you for quite some time. We’ve had an opportunity to share platforms where we talked about a variety of topics, one of those being, women in society. We’re seeing our gender expand by leaps and bounds both locally and globally. Do you mind sharing just a snippet of what your views on women in society is?

JE: I believe women are at a unique place in society where they are magical and invincible! Women, now more than ever, have fewer and fewer limits. We are CEOs, Nascar owners, entrepreneurs, film & TV writers, while also not being judged for roles as stay at home moms, but we still have a ways to go!

LR: Can you share maybe a grievance around women’s right and one thing you celebrate?

JE: My biggest grievance regarding women’s rights is the unbalance of being too far right or left; simply meaning women are forced to one end of the spectrum, and judgment from feminist extremist who don’t value the importance of more traditional roles. True Girl Power is being able to choose your own path!

One thing I celebrate about women: I celebrate women and their resilience! Not, that men can’t bounce back, but women endure childbirth, preparation of childbirth, inequality in wages, and so much more that men can’t even imagine

LR: With such headstrong personality, there must have been other women you looked up to insight. Who’s had an influence on the woman you’ve grown to become?

JE: Women I have looked up to…my mother and sister of course who are very strong mothers, wives and encouragers! I also look up to women like Ava Duvernay, Angela Rye, Ruby Dee when she was living…and really any other woman who is a writer!

LR: Let’s talk about the Memphis Climate. We both know the struggle is real when it comes to women in the wonderful professional world in Memphis. Tell me a little about your journey.

JE: I have to tell you the truth; it has been a rocky one, especially fitting into the category of a “Millenial”. I had to get over a point in my life where I was trying to prove myself to everyone. I had to realize that my gifts and talents would make room for me. I had to learn how to navigate in the professional world and not allow my emotions to get in the way of serving people.

LR: How did you land the role on 88.5?

JE: OH… (smiles big) I come from a radio background. My first experiences in radio came from Stan Bell, at I-Heart media as a K97 Communicator and Derek Wagner at 88.5 while I was at Central High School. Radio is my element, I enjoyed working at I_Heart Media & Cumulus, radio is my family. My show “Ladies Night” was presented to me by Brother John, John Best literally a giant in radio himself (he’s gonna get me for saying that). Every Thursday, I write a Dear Letter to the city of Memphis, spill my 30 sec rant, and give one deserving person the opportunity to “shine” during this hour. I love this show!

LR: Nice!! In more personal news, I heard that you’re a new aunt. How has that role taken on new meaning and what lessons do you to hope to instill in your “new niece?”

JE: Dakhota Doll is my new heart! I love her soooooooooooooooo much. I can’t wait to experience all her little stages in life: first word, kindergarten, first boyfriend (her dad is gonna kill me). I want to give her astronomical confidence. I want her to be a little freedom fighter. I could go on and on about my Dakhota Doll!

LR: What has your educational journey looked like? Do you mind walking us through that and what influence education has had?

JE: I am a proponent of education! People who have influenced my educational journey, which includes a Bachelors in English, French, and Masters in Public Policy and Legal Studies, have been W.E.B Dubois, Carter G. Woodson, my mother, Bell Hooks, Cornell West, Geoffrey Canada my English teacher at Central, Nancy Campbell, Judge Faith Jenkins, and Ms. Mulherin.

LR: What’s next for you professionally?

JE: I would like to own a foundation that funds great ideas for STEM and Creative Arts. I would also like to start a leadership and/or best practices and programs consulting firm. I want to do so much!

LR: You’re not just a ‘church girl,’but you are a ‘Preacher’s Kid which means a lot of time spent in the church. But more importantly,by default or design, a huge emphasis is placed on faith. How has your faith played a role?

JE: I am so in tune with Faith! God speaks with me often, and more frequently in my car (laughs). I am very intuitive and I know that my existence contributes to a larger purpose. I know that all of my steps are ordered by God. I struggle sometimes with recognition because I never want people to see me, always GOD! I MUST add, my dad helps steer me back to faith when I drift.

LR: Lastly, I just have to ask you: What legacy would you like to ultimately leave?

JE: I want to leave a legacy of compassion and relentless fighting for what is right. I don’t enjoy “celebrity” as much as I enjoy justice. I want everyone to be viewed fairly in this country. I speak up for people who don’t quite know what to say or how to say it. My coworkers often describe me as bold! I love the uniqueness that everyone can bring to the table!

All right. There you have it. Words from the beautifully brilliant Ms. Joia Erin herself. We appreciate the work that Joia is doing right here in the city of Memphis in various realms and applaud her relentless, fierce and faith-filled spirit.

Please be sure to check out Joia’s “Ladies Night” on Thursdays 88.5 FM at 6pm with Brother John Best at 5:30pm.

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