NC Notable Woman: Monika Johnson-Hostler
This month’s NC Notable Woman is Monika Johnson-Hostler, a champion for women and children. For 20 years she has led the NC Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NCCASA) as Executive Director. She has also served on the Wake County School Board for eight years. In addition to these roles, she is also the President of the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, the national organization is the voice for the state and territorial coalitions on Capitol Hill. Further, she has served on former President Barack Obama’s Children Who Witness Committee and Attorney General Eric Holder’s National Advisory Committee. Monika has spent her entire career working in the gender-based violence prevention movement.
A native of Thomasville, North Carolina. Monika learned the importance of integrity from her family, the value of community, and the importance of being a servant leader. Drawn to help and serve others, Monika earned an undergraduate degree in psychology, a master’s degree in public administration.
NCCASA is the sole statewide alliance working to end sexual violence through education, advocacy and legislation. NCCASA represents 125 members including local rape crisis centers. The organization engages in this work by supporting funding increases at the state and local level. Additionally, it works to strengthen policies and laws in NC that aid those who have experienced sexual violence. Last legislative session NCCASA advocated to address the funding for the rape victim assistance programs as well as policy protections that impact sexual assault survivors who speak out about their perpetrators through the Uniform Public Expression Protection Act. At the federal level NCCASA advocates for the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act and the Victims of Crime Act.
Monika says women and female identified people are most likely to be impacted by gender-based violence, therefore her personal mission is to create communities where the most marginalized can be safe and thrive. Her work centers the women and girls who hold multiple marginalized identities. Similarly, much of her work as a school board member focuses on the importance of taking care of educators, who are primarily women, and lifting the needs of, especially, marginalized students and families. Monika saw opportunities for improvement in the schools and was spurred by her daughter’s encouragement to “be the solution.” Currently serving her fourth two-year term, Monika has helped expand the magnet program in Wake County, partnered with local community colleges to expand career and technical education, and opened new schools and renovated existing schools to create safe and creative spaces for learning.
Monika embodies the leadership qualities that WomenNC seeks to instill and inspire in our scholars program, our leadership training program. Victims of sexual violence across the state as well as the children and families of Wake County can be both proud and thankful that Monika has their backs in her work as an advocate for those with intersecting and often marginalized identities that strengthens the entire backbone of our communities.