Our January Goddess: Ruby B. Johnson

| January 11, 2012

What is Possible When You Believe…

She walks into a room bubbling with energy, and she speaks of her mission to empower women and young girls with a passion that matches her bouncy disposition. Sitting across the table from me, Ruby’s hands do most of the talking; and they tell a very captivating story. They tell the story of a young woman’s journey from Sierra Leone to the United States, where a once unsure, now confident, young woman would establish a foundation aimed at teaching girls and women to love the bodies God has given them.

In the early 90s, civil war broke out in Sierra Leone. Most of us recall that war as the Blood Diamond war that filtered from Liberia into Sierra Leone under the Charles Taylor regime. The war which last for 11 years, saw the departure of several of Sierra Leone’s citizens – among them was Ruby B. Johnson and her family. Their departure from home led the family to Nigeria where Ruby learned to live a different kind of life in a foreign land.

She credits her compassion towards others, especially refugees, to her brief unstable life caused by the Sierra Leonean war.  This compassion has led her to volunteer her time to many causes, including volunteer work with autistic children. From Nigeria, Ruby travelled to the United States, settling in Maryland, where she attended High School and excelled. She is now a senior at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, an admission that caused us both to chuckle given the reputation the school has established in recent years. She is studying Mining and Mineral Engineering and minoring in Women and Gender Studies.

Despite her busy schedule as a college student, Ruby is devoted to the mission of her foundation. When You Believe Foundation (WYBF) is a fairly new organization, established on November 22, 2010, a few days after Ruby attended a conference and came away thinking of ways to make a difference in the lives of others. As a self-proclaimed and unwavering feminist, Ruby naturally picked women and girls as the focus of the change she wants to see. According to Ruby, “minoring in women’s studies, coupled with the personal and close knowledge she has of the issues women face,” made her more passionate about women’s issues.

Ruby wants women to be independent and confident. Her mission is to empower girls and women by promoting self-sufficiency and raising awareness of women’s issues such as domestic violence, poverty and sexual abuse. She talks about it all! Through her foundation, When You Believe Foundation, Ruby has impacted the lives of many women and young girls with programs such as Body Confident Beautiful Me which teaches girls and women to love their bodies and to know their self-worth. There is also a program called Womentorship which is a mentor-mentee program that links professional women with young girls looking to learn more about particular career fields.

The foundation has also organized various events in its short time of existence that hammer on the importance of living healthy lifestyles, immersing oneself in healthy academic habits, and making good mental and physical health choices. Ruby spends a lot of her free time touring various venues with her team, talking to girls about the importance of believing in, and loving themselves.

Ruby credits many people with her success as a community activist and vocal proponent for the advancement of women and girls. She rightly credits her self-confidence to her mother who has been a pivotal presence in her life. However, Ruby also acknowledges the other men and women who have been instrumental in making her who she is today. In High School, Ruby was a member of the African club which run a program under the African Immigrant and Refugee Foundation (AIRF), an organization founded by Dr. Wanjiru Kamau who is a prominent fixture in the African immigrant community here in the Washington, DC Metro area. She also credits her maturity to the autistic children she once volunteered with.

For the foundation, Ruby has big dreams. She wants to go global. She wants to have an impact that extends beyond the limits of geographical boundaries, although she is focused on opening up a branch of the foundation in her home country Sierra Leone in the more foreseeable future.

Ruby B. Johnson was only 20 years-old when she came home that day after the AIRF conference feeling like something vital was missing in her life. What would have taken some months and even years to ponder before taking action only took Ruby a few days. Before long, she had filled that void and was living a dream that now transcends her own personal satisfaction. At 21, she poured all her time into making the foundation a reality. Today, she is making a difference in her own life, and in the lives of all who come in contact with her – including this author.

It’s a New Year! You can become the next Ruby B. Johnson if only you would listen to your heart and forget the voices in your head that stand in your way. Ruby is our first Afrikan goddess of the year 2012 because she has opened the door for us to share in the many possibilities of what can happen in our lives When We Believe!

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AFRIKAN GODDESS MAGAZINE is a subsidiary of Afrikan Goddess Media, LLC. Our content is designed with the educated, professional, classy, charming and sassy African woman in mind. We encourage women to express their creativity and ideas through writing, and also serve as a platform for meaningful discussions and exchange of ideas.

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  1. Payton says:

    This was novel. I wish I could read every post, but i have to go back to work now… But I’ll return.

  2. Bookmarked! Thanks for an amazing post, will read your others posts.