Never Had A Friend

Presented by Dr. Micah E. Johnson

Social Justice Initiative

“Never Had a Friend” is a one-man memoir performance that depicts the incredible story of how a lonely child living in a homeless shelter survived trauma, violence, depression, and social disadvantage to become Dr. Micah E. Johnson. Featuring over a dozen characters and multiple types of performance art, “Never Had a Friend” takes audiences on a fantastic journey filled with laughter, tears, terror, and hope. This gripping performance delivers an unprecedented view of urban poverty through the eyes of a child. “Never Had a Friend” harnesses the phenomenal power of performance to promote knowledge, compassion, healing, justice, and peace.


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The Performer

Dr. Micah E. Johnson is a professor, author, scientist, humanitarian, and award-winning performance artist. Dr. Johnson is a sociologist trained in criminology and psychiatric epidemiology. His research and creative works focus on childhood trauma, behavioral health, and social justice. Dr. Johnson was awarded nearly three million dollars in research grants by the National Institutes of Health. His research was cited by the New York Times, Senator Bernie Sanders, Charlamagne Tha God, and others. Dr. Johnson created a multi-medium collection of artistic works entitled Never Had a Friend, featuring a one-person theatre show, a picture book, an audio play, a TEDx talk, and a novel. The Never Had a Friend collection helps destigmatize mental health, foster compassion for homeless children, and illuminate the phenomenal capacity for friendship to promote resilience. The Never Had a Friend picture book debuted as the #1 new release in the poverty category on Amazon. The Never Had a Friend TEDx Talk is one of the top 10 most viewed TEDx UF talks in history. Dr. Johnson also co-authored The Little Book of Police Youth Dialogue: A Restorative Path Toward Justice, which is a leading resource for conducting dialogues between police officers and community members. Dr. Johnson is also a pioneer of forensic sociology, serving in the state and federal court system as an expert witness, leveraging the science of trauma and social disadvantage to empower the justice system to make informed decisions.

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