Dr. Janice Johnson Dias – mother, wife, intellectual, and Founder of GrassROOTS Community Foundation is HelloBeautiful’s Beauty of the Week. Truly, she embodies the strength that makes her a force to be reckoned with. Funny in every sense of the word, but also filled with so much wisdom, in this get-to-know-you piece, Johnson speaks to the importance of being happy, having real and attainable goals, and why your health is so important!
FULL NAME: Dr. Janice Johnson Dias
HOMETOWN: West Orange, New Jersey. Also, a native of Jamaica, West Indies.
OCCUPATION: By day, I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at City University of New York (CUNY) at John Jay College. I am also a tenured Professor. By night, I am the President and Founder of the GrassROOTS Community Foundation.
WHAT’S THE MISSION OF YOUR FOUNDATION: GrassROOTS Community Foundation (GCF) is a training organization with an emphasis on public health and social action. We invest in our community members’ collective well-being and teach them how to use their healthy energy to transform themselves, their families and communities. We support, develop and tailor wellness programs for women and girls, particularly those who grew up in economic distress. We also advocate for policies and practices that reduce racial and gender disparities and foster equity.
LIFE MOTTO: Set your intentions and your actions will follow.
DIVE DEEPER INTO YOUR MOTTO: The person I wanted to be in the world was happy, healthy, and informed. I valued all those things. My mother and my family did a really good job of not pushing me towards any profession. My mother always wanted to know if I was alright and if I was happy with what I was doing. So, happiness was a life goal and it was really ingrained in me very early that no matter what you do in life – you need to be happy. Being healthy is the precursor that led to my foundation, GrassROOTS. My grandmother used to say that if you don’t have your health – you don’t have anything. So, it has always been clear to me that for happiness to happen, then clearly there needed to be money and friends, but you also needed to have your health. As I grew older and became much more informed, I really had a conceptualization of health as being physical, mental, and sexual, and making sure that my money wasn’t funny. In terms of being informed, that was a big thing for me very, very early. Knowing was very different from having an opinion. Right now, I have a life that is filled with a tremendous amount of joy. I am my own boss and I am tenured, so I have a job for life. In summary, I spend my time finding that good balance between the life of the mind and life of the body.
WHAT DO YOU NEED IN LIFE: I need a tremendous amount of joy to propel myself forward.
FAVORITE PLACE TO VISIT: La Jolla, California – It’s like Jamaica and Hawaii had a baby. It has all the water, the serenity, and it is surrounded by a lot of green. While it is ridiculously overpriced and expensive, it really feels peaceful.
FAVORITE BEAUTY PRODUCT: Facial wash and moisturizer!
GO TO OUTFIT: I do love a leather with a bootie with a big flared blacktop. I like a little off the shoulder. I just need you to remember or imagine. I need to feel like when ya’ll are all doing the most, I’m doing the exactly.