Monica Dennis (She, Her, Hers) is the Co-Director of Move to End Violence. Monica is a Black feminist and lifelong advocate for racial and gender justice and equity, with her work across movements spanning three decades. As a cross-movement capacity builder and strategist, her work focuses on addressing and healing from the cumulative impact of state-sanctioned violence on communities of color. She supports organizations and communities to shift from an individual to a systemic analysis of structural racism and explore racism’s relationship to intersecting oppressions. Monica is passionate about increasing our collective capacity to dismantle white supremacy and patriarchy as a pathway to ending violence.
Monica’s approach to organizing and movement building is shaped by the history of her people, those with whom she shares community, and her journey as a survivor. As a seventh-generation descendant of rural Black Southerners and a native of the South Bronx, Monica learned how her communities utilize culture, history, collaboration and innovation to resource themselves despite systemic oppression. Pivotal moments such as the police killing of Eleanor Bumpurs, the false imprisonment of the Central Park Five, the anti-apartheid movement, and the testimony of Anita Hill broadened her understanding of the political contexts and sparked her early activism.
Most recently, Monica assisted in organizing the Black Lives Matter Ride to Ferguson in the wake of Mike Brown’s tragic murder and she participated in the development of the Black Lives Matter Network. She supports the Safety Beyond Policing and #SwipeItForward campaigns and the Say Her Name, Every Black Girl and #MeToo movements. She is deeply proud of her contribution as the co-founder of S.O.W. Leadership Development Institute, as well as her work with the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, CoreAlign and CoLab.
Prior to joining Move to End Violence as co-director, Monica led a consulting practice that provided training, coaching, strategic planning and leadership development to organizations and large systems (foster care, education, public health, social services and governmental agencies) seeking to incorporate intersectional equity into their work. She has worked with the Strong Field Project, Drug Policy Alliance, NY Civil Liberties Union, National Network of Abortion Funds, University Settlement and more.
In her consulting practice, Monica focused on shifting from an individual to a systemic analysis of structural racism and understanding racism’s relationship to intersecting oppressions. More specifically, she worked with others to explore the impact of racism on both the micro (leadership styles, communication patterns, decision-making) and macro (institutional policies, practices and culture) levels. Deeply rooted in Black cultural traditions, her process incorporated experiential practices such as storytelling, writing, art, music and embodiment.
Monica has been working with Move to End Violence since 2014. She first joined the faculty with Rachael Ibrahim as a racial equity and liberation facilitator, working within convening spaces as well as offering regional trainings for faculty, staff, Movement Makers and allies. With hopes of expanding the reach of this critical work, Monica worked with Rachael to develop the popular and highly-regarded 6-part Racial Equity and Liberation Series hosted by Move to End Violence. Monica has also been part of Move to End Violence’s design and core faculty teams, helping shape and lead programming and strengthening the program’s lens on racial and gender equity.
She is a sought-after speaker and has appeared on MSNBC, CNN, The Root, Huffington Post, The Mic, Caracol Radio, BBC News, Al-Jazeera, Pacifica Radio, and various local NYC media affiliates. Monica has served on the boards of Girls for Gender Equity, NYS Office of Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Services and Susan Taylor’s National Cares Foundation.
Monica lives in Brooklyn where she spends time with beloved family and friends. She is passionate about dance, film, music, travel, and Prince.