Johanna Justin-Jinich lived her life with a passion that inspired everyone around her. What she loved and believed in, she loved and believed in with her entire being. A staunch advocate of helping those in need, Johanna had a particular passion for women’s access to healthcare and reproductive rights. While at Wesleyan, she volunteered as an escort at a local abortion clinic and translated for Spanish-speaking patients in the obstetrics wing at the Meriden Health Center as part of a student-led forum on feminism. She worked at Planned Parenthood locations in San Francisco and New York City. In the summer of 2008, she worked at the CASA Harmony House Visitation Center, supervising visitations between abused and neglected children and non-custodial parents. She had discussed pursuing a graduate degree in public health policy, and had planned to be an intern this past summer at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, a Capitol Hill-based organization that specializes in researching and promoting women’s issues. Johanna’s concern for public health can be traced back to her socially conscious family in Fort Collins, Colorado. Both of Johanna’s parents and two of her grandparents – her maternal grandmother, who is a Holocaust survivor, and her paternal grandfather – are doctors.
Johanna also cultivated an intense passion for the study of literature and poetry. A College of Letters (COL) and Iberian Studies double major, she read the works of writers such as Federico García Lorca and Pablo Neruda with zeal, and had been planning to write her senior thesis on the Spanish poets of Lorca’s generation. The unbridled passion seen in both Lorca and Neruda’s work spoke to Justin-Jinich’s own intense romanticism and belief in the overwhelming power of love. Just after completing her COL qualifying exams, Johanna’s life was abruptly taken away in a shooting on campus last May. By naming the health clinic in her memory, we hope to help keep her passion alive.
Through all her good work and academic pursuits, Johanna would never hesitate to drop everything to help her friends and family. Always there with practical words of advice, a pint of ice cream for a sad girlfriend, or a joke and her silly “bee!” voice to lighten the mood, she made sure that the people she loved were always taken care of. Johanna’s lust for life, devotion to the people she loved, and passion for helping those in need will always serve as inspiration for those who knew her.
–Bio written by Leah Lucid