Sapelo Descendant | Justice Strategist
Josiah ‘Jazz’ Watts has worked as an Equal Justice Works Georgia Housing Corps Urban Community Advocate under a fellowship through the Georgia Bar Foundation with the Georgia Heirs Property Law Center in Atlanta, GA.
He spearheaded conducting the first-ever Wills clinic in partnership with the Georgia Heirs Property Law Center in his historic Gullah Geechee community of Hogg Hummock on Sapelo Island, where he is a direct descendant. Josiah is an Environmental Justice Strategist with the coastal nonprofit One Hundred Miles (onehundredmiles.org). He also serves as a facilitator for the Nobis Project with Dr. Christen Clougherty (https://nobisproject.org/) and Both And Partners under founder and CEO Dr. Dietra Hawkins (https://bothandpartners.com/).
Jazz holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Speech Communication and Theater from the University of Georgia and a Master of Arts in Mass Communication from the University of Florida. He serves on the Boards of the Nobis Project and the Hogg Hummock Public Library on Sapelo Island and is a board member of the Butler Island Coalition (https://preservebutlerisland.org/) in Darien, GA. He is a Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commissioner (https://gullahgeecheecorridor.org/), a Board Member and Land Retention Advisor to the Sapelo Island Cultural & Revitalization Society (https://sicars.org/), and Board Chair of Coastal Community Health (https://coastalchs.org/).
He is the Director of Community Engagement for Vulnerable Communities Initiatives, (vulnerablecommunities.org) under Executive Director and Sam Nunn Professor of Law Emeritus, Emory Law Professor Frank Alexander.
He was a co-founder of the I Run With Maud Movement/2:23 Foundation, along with his younger cousin Demetris Frazier, Sr; an organization that was founded in the wake of the brutal lynching of Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Ga. Jazz is also a Certified Mediator with the Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution.
Hear from innovators across the public and private sectors on how they balance honoring our cultural heritage while tackling innovative projects to improve our modern age and add value to the legacy of the Coastal Empire with intention.