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Media Kit

The National Black Women’s Justice Institute is a 501c3 organization, headquartered in New York City, with a staff of six who work both locally and remotely across the United States.

Media contact

Abbi Leman, Senior Director of Communications,, 423.708.4009


The National Black Women’s Justice Institute researches the criminalization of Black women and girls and elevates innovative, community-led solutions to address it. We aim to dismantle the racist and patriarchal U.S. criminal-legal system and build, in its place, pathways to opportunity and healing.


Executive Director: Dr. Sydney McKinney (photo for download)

Sydney McKinney, Ph.D., M.P.H., 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, the National Black Women’s Justice Institute’s research and advocacy is demonstrating 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 more than 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. 


Founder and Board Chair: Dr. Monique Couvson (photo for download)

Monique Couvson, Ed.D., (formerly Monique W. Morris) is an award-winning author and social justice scholar with three decades of experience in the areas of education, civil rights, juvenile and criminal justice. Her research intersects race, gender, education and justice to explore the ways in which Black communities, and other communities of color, are uniquely affected by social policies. Dr. Couvson is the President and CEO of Grantmakers for Girls of Color, which has developed four signature funds, including: the Black Girl Freedom Fund. She is also the Founder and Board Chair for the National Black Women’s Justice Institute. Dr. Couvson’s work has been profiled by MSNBC, CSPAN2, The Washington Post, The New York Times, NPR, USA Today, and PBS, among other national and local print, radio, and television media.


What we do
  • Conduct rigorous research that brings the lived experiences of Black women and girls who have been impacted by the criminal legal system to the forefront.

  • Collect and analyze data that is critical for advocates, organizations, and policymakers seeking to develop and implement programmatic and policy solutions that center the needs and experiences of Black women and girls who have been impacted by the criminal legal system. 

  • Develop policy solutions that advocate for system reforms that advance the safety of Black women and girls in communities and keeps them out of places of confinement. At the core, our policy recommendations urge policymakers and our society at large to recognize our humanity and to enact legislation and commit resources that redress the systemic harms and obstacles that perpetuate the overcriminalization and punishment of Black women and girls.

  • Build capacity—through training and other assistance—of direct-service providers, community-led organization and programs, and government systems to better support Black women and girls without causing harm. 


Annual reports





Social media





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