What We Do
The Justice Fleet is a mobile network of experiences that foster community healing through art, play, and dialogue. Housed inside of box trucks, each mobile exhibit ventures into various neighborhoods to engage community members in discussions about implicit and explicit bias, social justice, and empathy. The first exhibit in production engages community members in a dialogue about Radical Forgiveness—the profound notion that we don’t have to live with fear, pain, hostility, or injustice because we have control over the way we perceive, understand, and act. Radical Imagination invites the community to come together to imagine new systems and build a world without injustice. Radical Forgiveness and Radical Imagination are fluid and deliberate processes that allows us to heal the wounds from injustice. Additional exhibits include Transfuturism and Black Girl Magic.
Project Goals & Learning Outcomes
History of the Justice Fleet
Meet the Board
Meet the Founder
Dr. Amber Johnson
As a scholar/artist/activist, Dr. Johnson’s aims to define the language, exigency, sound, and aesthetics of various social movements. Their research and activism focus on performances of identity, protest, and social justice in digital and lived spaces. As a polymath, their mixed-media artistry involves working with metals, recycled and reclaimed goods, photography, poetry, percussion, and paint to interrogate systems of oppression. Dr. Johnson’s academic teaching and research directly inform their creative process. Illuminating systems of oppression in the classroom for over a decade, Amber finds that art transcends language and helps students and audiences alike view oppression and social justice from alternative spaces. Thus, they use several artistic elements within the classroom, as well as their own creative process outside of the classroom to help deepen their commitment to activism and social justice. Amber began working with metals, paint, and photography in 2008, and added recycled and reclaimed goods in 2014. They began teaching photography and installation art in 2011. As a member of AndroBeat, Amber plays percussion. As the creator of The Justice Fleet, Dr. Johnson wanted to experiment with mobile museums and social justice inquiry, ethnography, and art activism as methodology to address social injustice and urban engagement. The mobile museums, housed inside of box trucks, go into different communities to talk about social justice, self-love, community, and healing through intergroup dialogue, play, and art activism.
Dr. Amber Johnson is an Assistant Professor of Communication at Saint Louis University. Their research trajectory merges qualitative and rhetorical research design in the areas of identity, social justice, performance, art activism, and digital media. Amber is an award-winning scholar and teacher, including the Golden Anniversary Monograph Award for their research on black masculinity and the performative possibilities of social media, the Lilla A. Heston award for Outstanding Scholarship in Interpretation and Performance Studies for their work on embodied pedagogies and social justice, and the recipient of the Faculty Excellent Award for Diversity and Social Justice. Amber has published articles in several journals including Qualitative Inquiry, Critical Studies in Media and Communication, Text & Performance Quarterly, Liminalities: A Journal of Performance Studies, and Communication Quarterly. Their forthcoming book, Rainbow in the Clouds: A Letter to my Genderfluid Child, blends poetic narrative, autocritography, and memoir.
The Justice Fleet is a community inspired endeavor that could not exist without its community partners. Each exhibit is a product of meetings, critical imagination, and collaborative energy with community always in mind. We are very thankful to the following artists, contractors, educators, museum professionals, thinkers, and community members.
Meet the Board
Cynthia Graville, Board President
Cynthia Graville is an Instructor of Converging Communication Technology and Director of the Communication Media Lab at Saint Louis University. Currently, she is enrolled as a doctoral student in the Teaching and Learning Division of the College of Education at UMSL. She was the recipient of ASTC's Roy A. Shafer Leading Edge Award for New Leadership in the Field (2008.)
Her work as an activist, graphic artist, and educator unite in her National Science Foundation funded grant project that hires high school students to work as infographic scientist. Youth from marginalized communities have access to employment, health benefits, and education as agents versus subjects.
Cynthia Graville is also an influential maker space pioneer who brings maker spaces into institutions not normally recognized in the field of STEM, like juvenile detention centers and shelters for people experiencing homeless.
Monica O. Montgomery
Monica O. Montgomery is an international keynote, graduate professor, museum director and cultural entrepreneur, curating media and museums to be in service to society. She recently spoke at TedX Charlottesville and a winner of the 2016 Arts Entrepreneurship Award from Fractured Atlas. She is the founding director and chief curator of Museum of Impact the world’s first mobile social justice museum, inspiring action at the intersection of art, activism, self and society. She curates Museum of Impact’s traveling exhibits, examining current events, creative resilience, human rights and social movements.
Additionally, Monica is the Strategic Director of Museum Hue a multicultural platform, advocating diversity, inclusion and advancing people of color, in arts, culture museums and creative economy. As a sought after public speaker and coach for executives and career changers, she frequently trains leaders and and partners with universities and museums to facilitate diversity, leadership and equity initiatives. Monica is an alumna of Temple University and LaSalle University, with degrees in Public Relations and Communication. She is an adjunct professor at Harvard University, holding leadership positions in American Alliance of Museums, Museums As Sites of Social Action and AMA UK. She is a dynamic empowerment speaker, educator and facilitator who keynotes at conferences throughout Europe and America. www.monicamontgomery.org
Britt Baker, a polymath born into the New Age era, delivers a message that rings true across generations and media: Love is the unifying answer. As varied as their reach, Britt's art forms recount their journey in writing, painting, illustration, capoeira, and music, their primary focus. A composer, singer, and master of nine instruments, Baker believes firmly in the Greek principal, “Music is the understanding of the relationship between invisible and internal objects.” Baker uses their tools to delve deep into the human psyche. Through performance and visualization, they strives to cultivate an environment where the audience can sift through the often-tough process of human existence. Baker's artwork challenges spectators to separate themselves from external reality and ponder unifying questions that link to struggles within social, political, socioeconomic, and identity intersections. Baker engages viewers where they are, as they are, in order to welcome and nurture personal transformation. Sometimes it's gritty; sometimes it's pretty. It is always driven with purpose, passion, and Love.
Wriply M. Bennet
Amy Bautz is an artist and educator based in St. Louis, Missouri. Represented by Wonderwall studios in Austin, Texas, her artwork is shown and collected nationally. She is an associate professor at Saint Louis University, where she teaches art and design. She is also an animation team member for Blue Peach Media, headquartered in NYC. Originally trained as a photojournalist at the University of Texas at Austin, Ms. Bautz received her M.F.A. from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville in painting, photography, and computer art. You can visit Amy Bautz's online portfolio at https://www.behance.net/AmyBautz
Wriply M. Bennet
Wriply Marie Bennet is a proud, self-taught illustrator, actor, writer and singer born and raised in Ohio. Her organizing work started with the Trans Women of Color Collective and expanded in Ferguson where she was a freedom rider traveling to stand with Mike Brown’s family and community. Wriply’s work expresses the perseverance, power, strength, resilience, grace and beauty of trans women. Her work sheds light on the lack of national outcry over the epidemic of black trans women murdered each year at the hands of state sanctioned violence. Wriply’s art has been used in numerous social justice flyers, and made its first film debut in MAJOR!, a documentary at the 2015 San Francisco Transgender Film Festival.
Tim Huffman is an Associate Professor of Communication and Social Justice at Saint Louis University and a fierce advocate and accomplice in the creation and maintenance of The Justice Fleet. His contributions to The Justice Fleet are particularly clear in the Radical Imagination exhibit, which was inspired by one of Tim's teaching activity, "The Just City.
Tim is also an activist and scholar who organizes for people experiencing homelessness. Dr. Huffman's research focuses on social justice organizing, particularly around issues of homelessness. He takes a community-based approach to understanding and promoting socially just communication, like compassion and community. He is committed to improving the way we communicate and organize in response to social justice issues.