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Award-winning equity expert to deliver 2023 Betty Joe Wallace Memorial Lecture at APSU

Tequila Johnson

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – On Wednesday, March 29, Tequila Johnson, co-founder and co-executive director of The Equity Alliance, will present the 2023 Betty Joe Wallace Memorial Lecture at 3:30 p.m. in Morgan University Center 303/305 at Austin Peay State University.  

Johnson is an award-winning, cause-driven community organizer and strategist whose work focuses on creating equity and increasing civic engagement among Black Americans and other communities of color.  She has been recognized for educating communities of color about the political process, relevant economic, social, and political issues, the impacts of impending legislation and providing people with the tools to exercise self-agency.  She has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, on CNN, MSNBC, and around the country. 

The Equity Alliance is a Tennessee-based nonprofit that equips Black and brown citizens with tools and strategies to strengthen their communities and make government work better.  In 2018 Johnson served as the statewide manager for the Tennessee Black Voter Project, a statewide coalition of nearly two dozen local nonprofits working together toward the goal of registering 50,000 Black Tennesseans to vote.  The group, under Johnson’s leadership, submitted 91,000 voter registration forms.   

In addition to her involvement in local politics and community organizing, Johnson is also the founder and CEO of The Equity Consulting Group, LLC, a firm specializing in issue advocacy, government relations, community relations and media strategy.  Johnson served as campaign manager and lead strategist for newcomer Christiane Buggs’ successful Metro Nashville School Board election.  She also has provided strategic oversight, analysis and field operations for a variety of political organizations.   

Her work in and for the community has earned widespread praise and recognition.  Her awards include:  2020 Roddenberry Civil Rights Fellow, 2019 Human Rights Coalition Rising Advocate Award, The Nashville Business Journal’s Women of Influence Award 2019, Nashville Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Superstar 2019, the NAACP Ella Baker Power Award 2019, the Women’s Political Collaborative of Tennessee’s Movers and Shakers Award 2018, Nashville Business’ 100 Leading African Americans 2018,  Nashville Black 40 Under 40 2018 and Nashville Voice’s 2018 Nashvillian of the year. 

Johnson is a graduate of Tennessee State University, where she received her master’s degree in counseling psychology and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in industrial and organizational psychology.  Additionally, she is a certified project manager and holds a graduate certificate in grant writing and nonprofit, public and organizational management.  She currently serves on the Metro Nashville Industrial Development Board (2020), the sustainable business coalition, and is a Board Member for Creative Girls Rock. 

A reception for Johnson will follow her presentation. 

The Betty Joe Wallace Memorial Lecture is co-sponsored by Austin Peay’s Department of History and Philosophy and the Women’s and Gender Studies Program.  A champion of minorities’ and women’s rights, Professor Betty Joe Wallace pioneered and taught African American history and Women’s history courses at Austin Peay for nearly 30 years.  She founded both the African American Studies Program and the Women’s Studies Program. In 1989 the faculty honored her service by presenting her with the Distinguished Professor Award. Between 1965 and 2004, Professor Wallace also trained hundreds of History and Social Studies teachers who served throughout the area. 

For more information on the 2023 Betty Joe Wallace Memorial Lecture, contact Dr. Michèle Butts, Austin Peay Professor of History, at 931-221-7947 or buttsmt@apsu.edu. 

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