Dorothy Johnson-Speight, MHS, LPC – is Founder and Executive Director of Mothers In Charge, Inc. She is a highly regarded leader, speaker, and guest television commentator and a clarion voice against the war to end senseless acts of violent crime. Her work, though rooted in the City of Philadelphia, has led to national appearances and presentations across the United States and abroad.
A licensed family therapist, Dorothy is a long time supporter for the rights of children and families during her distinguished career in victim advocacy. Following the tragic murder of her son Khaaliq Jabbar Johnson in 2001 over a parking space dispute, Mrs. Johnson-Speight along with other grieving mothers founded the non-profit organization Mothers In Charge, Inc., (MIC). MIC is a grassroots organization whose mission is violence prevention through education and proactive intervention with children, young adults, families and community organizations. The organization’s mission is realized through collaborative partnerships with the school districts, youth and faith-based community organizations, and governmental organizations, while providing grief support to families affected by violence. As part of Dorothy’s vision and leadership, MIC Chapter affiliates have formed in Wilmington, DE, San Francisco, Los Angeles, CA, Nashville, TN, Atlantic City, NJ, and Brooklyn, NY.
Through her work with Mothers In Charge, she began to realize that violent acts are often being committed by angry teenagers and young adults who are unable to cope with their own pain and anger, so they began to lash out in their communities. She began to work with juveniles, some of them who are incarcerated for murder. Realizing one day these young men and women will be released back into society, she began to work with this population with a cognitive skills curriculum, “Thinking For A Change”. The program addresses the development of pro-social and proper decision making skills, violence prevention and preparation for re-entry back into society. As a result of the program’s success, Mothers In Charge has began to implement this program in several correctional institutions.
Ms. Johnson-Speight has received many recognitions and awards for her work. These include The Philadelphia Magazine’s coveted “Best Philadelphian” Award and recognition during the Philadelphia Eagles 75th Anniversary celebration as one of the “75 Greatest Living Philadelphians.” She was selected by The Philadelphia Tribune, as one of Philadelphia’s Most Influential African American “Leaders” of 2012 in the Philadelphia region. In 2008, Mrs. Johnson-Speight was appointed by Philadelphia’s Mayor Michael Nutter as Board Trustee to the Philadelphia Prison System. She has received a certificate of appreciation from the Department of Human Services, Division of Juvenile Justice Services Youth Study Center for her outstanding work and building stronger communities.
Under Dorothy’s leadership, MIC has received numerous awards and recognitions including the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Director of Community Service Award, the Wells Fargo/Wachovia Community Service Award and the School District of Philadelphia Humanitarian Award. In November 2012, Dorothy spoke at the Major Cities Police Chief conference at the invitation of Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey to give testimony about the impact of violence on individuals and communities and possible solutions to eradicate violence.
Dorothy’s most recent achievement is a collaboration with Villanova University to produce the documentary, “No Greater Pain” which was selected to screen at the 2012 San Diego, CA and Chicago, IL Black Film Festival.
A Native Philadelphian, Ms. Johnson-Speight received her Master’s Degree in Human Services from Lincoln University and she completed the School Psychologist Certification Program at Immaculata University. She has received other various educational training to remain an effective and empowering agent for change.
In her spare time she enjoys traveling and takes pleasure in spending time with her daughter Markita and grandson Khaaliq.