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Joy Banner, Ph.D., (she/her)

Co-Founder and Co-Director, The Descendants Project


Dr. Joy Banner is co-founder and co-director of The Descendants Project, a nonprofit foundation committed to the liberation of the Black descendant community through the dismantling of inequitable and discriminatory economic, environmental, and social systems inherent in the violent legacies of slavery. After earning a PhD from Louisiana State University, Dr. Banner taught business communications, marketing, and entrepreneurship at the university level, where she advanced to chair of the management program. She is a proud member of the local descendant community with rooted ancestry that can be traced to the 18th century.  folklore, narratives, and resourcefulness of her community elders and ancestors are the inspiration for the collective and collaborative philosophy of The Descendants Project, in service of the community’s health, wellness, and most importantly, happiness. As part of this work, Dr. Banner is on the front lines of the struggle against environmental racism in the form of petrochemical plants along Louisiana’s River Road, otherwise known as “Cancer Alley.” Dr. Banner is the former director of communications and descendant of people enslaved at Whitney Plantation, the only plantation museum in Louisiana that centers the lives of the enslaved. In her spare time, she enjoys writing screenplays, biking on the levee, and taking care of her fur baby, Louie.  
 Joy Banner, Ph.D., (she/her)