This month the podcast features Tobi Downing, with nearly 3 decades of experience in the anti-violence movement, she’s had the opportunity to co-lead a state coalition in NY, laid the groundwork for an Intimate Partner Fatality Review team in Philadelphia, and most notably she has had the honor of working with and serving families of murder victims for almost 15 years.
Tobi speaks with us about how leadership expectations are often a reflection of the dominant culture. She shares honestly about the ways that she, as a Black woman, has challenged expectations of being the “Superhero” at work, coupled with what she calls, “the mammy dynamic.” She pushes back on the term “impostor syndrome,” as an individualistic explanation to a systemic disparity in leadership support for Black and Brown women. As movement leaders, we must understand how the United State’s history with enslavement and colonialism colors our leadership expectations for and perceptions of Black and Brown Leaders, including in the movement to end gender-based violence.
We invite aspiring leaders in the movement to listen and learn from Tobi’s story of how historical perceptions have impacted her on her path to feeling like an imposter to becoming an authentic leader.
This project is supported by Grant No 2020-TA-AX-K022 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this program are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice.