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Meet our Founder and National Director

Inspired by Women who led with Strength and Grace


Coretta Scott King

Ida B. Wells

Xernona Clayton

Diane Nash

Joia Erin Thornton

Joia Erin Thornton is an avid civil rights advocate, writer, historian, and policy leader. Ms. Thornton has a unique hometown experience growing up in Memphis, Tennessee, and New Orleans, Louisiana; two cities on the mighty Mississippi River riddled with class, race, and overall systemic disparities. Joia formed the Faith Leaders of Color Coalition (flocc) to honor the work of Black & Indigenous faith leaders who have contributed to civil/ human rights movements throughout history. Joia uses the framework of faith, race, and historical accounts from the Southern diaspora to boldly confront America's relationship with the death penalty system.

Joia has over 20 years of experience in grasstops organizing, story-telling, program implementation, and model design. Since 2018, she has made successful inroads in state and national policy reform. Joia has a Bachelor of Arts in English and French (BA) from Louisiana State University and a Master of Public Administration-Policy & Legal Studies (MPA | MPP)  from the University of Memphis. Joia collaborates with attorneys, analysts, faith leaders, and strategists working to eliminate the use of capital punishment in various states.




flocc on footnotes podcast

Listen to our founder, Joia Erin Thornton, and New York Times Best Selling Author of The Color of Compromise- Jemar Tisby discuss the racist roots of the American Death Penalty System and why Black clergy should lead repeal efforts.



our sacred values.

1. Advocate for Policies to Eliminate the use of the capital punishment system: 


flocc will tirelessly work to eliminate the American capital punishment system, addressing racial disparities, wrongful convictions, innocence claims and inhumane conditions on death row.


2. Empower Faith Leaders: 


flocc will empower Black and Indigenous clergy to use their moral authority and spiritual teachings to advocate for an end to state-sanctioned death in their communities and nationwide.


3. Cast Vision: 


flocc aims to educate the public about the injustices and uneven applications when death sentences are applied, particularly with white victims. flocc will introduce ways to hold district attorneys and municipalities accountable for true public safety.


4. Promote Healing: 


flocc recognizes the profound trauma inflicted by the death penalty on both victims' families and those involved in the system. flocc will work toward healing, reconciliation and restoration.

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