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  • Writer's pictureNBWJI Staff

NBWJI Expands Team With Acting Executive Director

Berkeley (July 22, 2019) - The National Black Women's Justice Institute is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Sydney McKinney as the organization's Acting Executive Director. The National Black Women's Justice Institute is a nonprofit that conducts research, provides technical assistance, engages in public education, and promotes civic and policy engagement to reduce racial and gender disparities in the justice system affecting Black women, girls and their families.

"We are exceptionally pleased that Dr. McKinney has taken on this leadership role," says Dr. Monique W. Morris, NBWJI President and Co-Founder. "She has dedicated her career to using research and evaluation to improve the well-being and outcomes of our most vulnerable communities. We are excited about her unwavering commitment to mission-driven, impactful research and policy."

Dr. McKinney comes to the National Black Women's Justice Institute (NBWJI) with a wealth of experience in the areas of child welfare and justice system reform. She worked at the Vera Institute of Justice for over seven years addressing pressing issues such as "Stop and Frisk," alternatives to incarceration, restorative justice, and the status offense system. More recently, she managed data analytics at HeartShare St. Vincent's Services, a nonprofit organization in New York City providing direct services to individuals, children, and families affected by the child welfare system, as well as those experiencing homelessness and mental illness.

"I am honored to join the NBWJI family,” says Dr. Sydney McKinney. “I am excited to build upon the Institute’s work to improve the well – being and outcomes for Black women and girls in the justice system continuum and work closely with leadership to increase the Institute’s impact in this next chapter of the organization's growth.”

Dr. McKinney's approach to her work is grounded in the philosophy of Participatory Action Research (PAR), as she fundamentally believes in the power of researcher-practitioner partnerships to transform systems and expand the opportunity landscape in ways that honor the dignity and respect of all people. In addition, she has written on the topics of developing systems for monitoring change within organizations and the status offense system in the U.S., including a forthcoming chapter titled "Female Status Offenders" in the Encyclopedia of Women and Crime.

Dr. McKinney earned her doctorate in sociology from New York University (NYU) where she studied predictors of perceptions of the risks, costs, and rewards of crime in a sample of adjudicated youth. She also holds two master's degrees: an M.A. in Law and Society from NYU and an M.P.H. from Columbia University. Dr. McKinney earned her B.A. from Tufts University. She is originally from Michigan and currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Nicole E. Kenney

at 215-833-0678 or


The National Black Women's Justice Institute is a leading research, training, and technical assistance provider to public agencies, institutions, and foundations on countering the criminalization of Black women and girls. NBWJI works to reduce racial and gender disparities across the justice continuum affecting Black women, girls, and their families, by conducting research, providing technical assistance, engaging in public education, promoting civic engagement and advocating for informed and effective policies. We conduct research, evaluation, and technical assistance from an intersectional lens that centers race/ethnicity and gender as well as gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation/identity for participants, staff, and partners organizations/individuals.

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