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Tobi Downing

I am Toby and Jean’s daughter. I am a mother. I am a wife.  I am my sister’s friend and a friend to my sisters.  I am an advocate guided by faith and love of my family and community. I am committed to building equitable spaces and communities through public policy and practices rooted in my faith and my pursuit of authentic fellowship and leadership. I have worked for over twenty years within nonprofits, state & local government offices and community-based organizations. I have spent those years working with victims of violent crimes including sexual assault and domestic violence. I have also had the honor of serving families of murder victims. It is a privilege to be trusted to hold space with and for families as they navigate the horrors of homicide. Working with families to help them navigate through insufficient systems on what are likely the worst days of their lives has allowed me to witness the ways in which racial, gender and economic biases collide and collude to further create injustices. My commitment to challenging these systems to be more authentic and just is rooted in my understanding of the limitations and the possibilities of the social services and criminal justice systems and the public policy that dictates its priorities. I know that all of the work I do is for a larger purpose and not just for my own benefit and personal gain. I co-led a state coalition in New York, becoming one of the first Black women to do so. I also had the opportunity to co-lead the rollout and early implementation of a citywide outreach, intervention and crisis response program for families of murder victims in Philadelphia. 

 

I am a graduate of the Urban League’s distinguished African American Leadership Forum 2019 Cohort.  In 2018, I hosted and facilitated a workshop and planning discussion to lay the groundwork for creating an Intimate Partner Fatality Review Team in Philadelphia. It was in response to the alarming increase of domestic violence related and intimate partner homicides in the city.  We convened a group of advocates, community leaders, police and prosecutors to participate in the well supported effort. I have participated on statewide task forces and other committees in Pennsylvania and New York. I most recently sat on the PA Governor’s Pathfinder Awards Taskforce 2017-2020.  Currently, 

I serve on the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health’s Women and Girls of Color Workgroup. I am also now a Fellow of  the VALOR US (CALCASA) Leadership Education and Advancement for Professionals (LEAP) program 2021 cohort.  

Look out for my upcoming podcast A Dialogue with Tobi Downing to launch in the Summer of 2021. By centering the voices of Black women and women of color, we will explore the body politic through honest and revelatory conversations about current events, pop culture, public policy and politics with great minds.