Tonya Lovelace is the Chief Executive Officer for the Women of Color Network, Inc. (WOCN, Inc.), an independent women of color-lead national nonprofit based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The mission of WOCN, Inc. is to eliminate violence against ALL women and their communities by centralizing the voices and promoting the leadership of women of color across the Sovereign Nations, the United States and U.S. Territories. The purpose of WOCN, Inc. is to work in and beyond the fields of domestic violence and sexual assault to address a broad range of violence affecting communities of color such as human trafficking, police brutality and over-incarceration. We accomplish this by examining and responding to a global context of colonialism, imperialism, capitalism, racism, sexism, heterosexism, transphobia, and other forms of oppression that intersect with violence against women of color and their communities.
As WOCN, Inc. CEO, Tonya led the spin-off and transition of WOCN as a former project of the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence to a stand-alone organization.Tonya is responsible for the oversight and growth of WOCN, Inc., generating close to $15 million in federal and foundation funds for WOCN projects and initiatives over 16 years to bring it to its current level of national visibility and impact.
Tonya is a visionary leader, setting the tone and direction for WOCN, Inc.’s training, technical assistance, community organizing, and programming informed by WOCN, Inc. Board and constituents, and lead by an amazing nationally-renown staff and consultants she has assembled. Tonya provides high-level technical assistance and training on anti-oppression, culturally relevant and informed supervision, and organizational transformation and paradigm shift in reaching and serving marginalized populations.
Tonya also works on national policy serving as the Chair of the Underserved Committee for the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women for the 2013 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization, Chair of the Underserved Committee for Family Violence Prevention and Services Act Reauthorization, and as participant on the Communities of Color Committees for both pieces of legislation. Originally based in Ohio, Tonya has served in the field of violence against women for 21 years, holding various positions along the way, including such direct services roles as case manager for women with special needs at a domestic violence shelter, outreach case manager for women transitioning into their newly established homes, and court/general advocate supporting women through the criminal and civil court systems and other institutions. Tonya has also served in many systems change roles, beginning as a criminal justice training coordinator, implementing domestic violence training, protocol development, and systems audits for police, prosecutors, probation officers, judges, and victim advocates across Montgomery County, Ohio, and moving on to become Access/Diversity Director, working to overhaul outreach efforts and services to better meet the needs of marginalized communities. Most notably, Tonya pioneered two programs while in Ohio – Rise Support Group for women of African descent, and CaseWatch, a volunteer court watch program.
Tonya holds a Bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Miami University of Ohio, a Master of Arts in Black Studies and another in Women’s Studies, both from The Ohio State University. She also has served as an Adjunct Instructor at several universities and has conducted numerous trainings on local, state, and national levels. She has received several honors, including the Women Studies Community Award in 2001 from Wright State University of Ohio in recognition of CaseWatch, Black Achievers Award by WROU Radio in Dayton, Ohio in the same year, and the Flame of Life Award in 2000 for outstanding commitment to the fight to end domestic violence, courtesy of SafeHouse, a transitional housing program under the Dayton Chapter of Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Tonya received an award from A Call to Men, along with the Diane Reese Award from National Network to End Domestic Violence for success on the 2010 National Call to Action Institute and Conference, a groundbreaking conference bringing together close to 400 people across the country to discuss the importance of women of color leadership in the anti-violence against women movement to best reach communities of color. She also received the Practice Award from the Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community in 2012, and the YWCA of Harrisburg Tribute to Women of Excellence Award in 2017.
Now living in Harrisburg, PA, Tonya is a proud mother, and believes that one of her greatest achievements is raising a strong, activist daughter in the midst of ongoing global inequity for women and girls of color and their families. Tonya is also a survivor of child sexual assault, bullying, teen dating violence, and domestic violence. She has a refueled vision of transformed systems and communities that connect the dots across all forms of violence, with intersectional feminism and advocacy at the center of the work. It is her passion and goal to work within innovative spaces and alongside women of color and aspiring allies to help make this a bold reality.
Women of Color Network, Inc.
The mission of the Women of Color Network, Inc. (WOCN, Inc.) is to eliminate violence against ALL women and their communities by centralizing the voices, the wellness and leadership of women of color across the Sovereign Nations, the United States and U.S. Territories. The purpose of WOCN, Inc. is to work in and beyond the fields of domestic violence and sexual assault to address a broad range of violence affecting communities of color such as human trafficking, police brutality and over-incarceration. We accomplish this by examining and responding to a global context of colonialism, imperialism, capitalism, racism, sexism, heterosexism, transphobia, and other forms of oppression that intersect with violence against women of color and their communities.