Raven Charlese Johnson is the daughter of Yolonda G. Johnson, Founder of Raven’s Project. Raven was an avid reader, astute scholar,  forward-thinking youth leader, and a writer. She was a brilliant philosopher who loved the pursuit of knowledge. Raven was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis in November 2005, three months into her Freshman year of high school. Due to the suppression of her immune system she was extremely compromised and often contracted viruses which made her violently ill thus causing her to miss an unimaginable number of days from school.

 

As her illness progressed, Raven digressed from being an active, busy, dancer and cheerleader to being wheel-chair bound during the final stages of her life. The beauty of her story and the inspiration for our mission was Raven's perseverance, determined attitude, and unwavering faith through it all. Though her body fought against her Raven did not allow her limitations to deter her from excelling at school and continuing her service to others.

 

Raven’s health declined drastically throughout her four-year-battle with JRA but she pursued education with fervor and passion in spite of her illness and disabilities. Raven attended school when she was sick, with fevers, on a scooter, and with deformed hands and feet. During the same period she remained active in her church and community. Raven graduated high school with a 3.4 GPA and was awarded a scholarship to Brenau University to study Mass Communications.

 

Raven passed away  September 2, 2009 three months after graduating high school. As a final gift of love, her story and writings were documented in the inspirational book, My Life in the Sunshine!  All proceeds are donated to the Raven C. Johnson Memorial Perseverance Scholarship.


In a sea of sameness,

You expect me to stand out?

Where I am nameless,

You expect me to stand out?

Of course not,

Nobody wants to know what I’m about.

But…

What if they do?

What if they are dying to know?

What if they’re waiting

For me to let it show.

But there is no way I can

Do that. Trust me I know.

When they’re sippin’ Coke & rum

You expect me to speak in tongues?

When they pull blunts out

You expect me to shout?

But of course you do.

It’s expected of me.

For I am more blessed than the eye can see.

Stand Out by Rae C. Johnson