Meet Our Experts

NBWJI’s experts include community organizers, lawyers, mental health providers, policy analysts, public health professionals, and criminologists.

Sydney McKinney, Ph.D, MPH, MA

Executive Director

Dr. McKinney is deeply committed to advancing rigorous research, policy, and technical assistance that lifts up the voices of system-impacted Black women, girls and gender-nonconforming people. Under her leadership, NBWJI’s research and advocacy will demonstrate the importance of centering the experiences of Black women, girls, and gender nonconforming people in efforts to end mass incarceration and how critical it is that our society advance new models of justice that are rooted in honoring the dignity of all people and promote individual and collective healing. Dr. McKinney has over 15 years of experience in the areas of child welfare and justice reform, leading and implementing research and evaluation in applied settings. She holds a Ph.D. in sociology and an M.A. in law and society from New York University, as well as an M.P.H from Columbia University.

Janaé Bonsu-Love, Ph.D, MA, LMSW

Director of Research and Advocacy

Dr. Janaé Bonsu-Love (she/her) is the director of research and advocacy of the National Black Women’s Justice Institute (NBWJI). Dr. Bonsu-Love comes to NBWJI as an activist-scholar, policy advocate, and Licensed Master Social Worker committed to ending criminalization while supporting the healing of Black women, girls and nonbinary people. She has a decade of research and advocacy experience on issues spanning the criminal and juvenile legal systems with particular interest and expertise in the areas of policing, reentry, and gender-based violence. Dr. Bonsu-Love has extensive experience designing, implementing, analyzing, and sharing research in a variety of settings, and found a passion in providing strategic research support for grassroots campaigns concerned with gendered and racialized criminalization. She holds a Ph.D. in social work from the University of Illinois-Chicago, an MA in social work, policy, and administration from the University of Chicago, and a B.A. in experimental psychology and criminal justice from the University of South Carolina.

Alexis Chambers

Senior Policy Associate

Alexis Chambers is a senior policy associate at the National Black Women's Justice Institute. Before joining NBWJI, Alexis worked in the education policy space at a national education nonprofit. She began her career as a high school history teacher in Cincinnati, Ohio. Throughout both her academic and professional career, Alexis has used a racial equity lens to examine and develop policy recommendations, and this an essential asset she brings to her role at NBWJI. Alexis is  passionate about Black people, social justice, and finding time for leisure. She is a proud aunt of four nieces and four nephews. Alexis holds an M.A. in education policy and leadership from American University, and a B.A. in political science and African American studies from Ohio University.

Trevariana Mason, MS

Research Associate

Trevariana Mason has spent most of her career and educational journey working to provide visibility for disadvantaged populations. As she developed an understanding of the criminal and social justice system, her outlook on justice changed. Throughout her career, she has focused on “the talk:” conversations Black parents use to prepare their children for police encounters, marginalized groups experiences throughout the court proceedings, community policing, incarceration and social networks, and women in prison. She has also worked with family dependency treatment courts to encourage healing and strengthening of families. Trevariana holds a B.S in criminal and social justice from Central Michigan University as well as an M.S in criminal justice and a community engagement certification from Michigan State University.


Kenya Welch

Director of Development and Strategic Partnerships

Kenya Welch joins NBWJI with 20 years of experience in fundraising and social justice. She has committed her career to advocating for and uplifting Black communities in the areas of housing, education, healthcare, and employment. To this end, Kenya has helped create and implement effective fundraising strategies for a variety of organizations including the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington, the National Urban League, and the Vera Institute of Justice. She also volunteers with community initiatives to improve educational and housing opportunities for Black women and communities in Washington, DC, and New York. Kenya was recognized most recently with the 2020 Outstanding Leadership Award from the Washington Black Bar Association. Kenya holds a Master’s degree in public administration from the University of North Carolina and a B.A. in history and political science from Clemson University.

Board of Directors

Image by Joe deSousa
Monique Couvson, Ed.D
(formerly Monique W. Morris)

Board Chair

Brooklyn, NY

Image by Joe deSousa
Isis Sapp-Grant, LMSW

Board Member

Brooklyn, NY

Image by Joe deSousa
Ayana Curry, Esq.

Board Member

Bay Area, CA