Tonja Honsey is an incarceration survivor, a revolutionary mother, and a community healer. She has worked as a grassroots organizer since 2003. She uses her lived experience to advocate for the change that is needed to restore our communities from the trauma of mass incarceration.
She was recently appointed to the MN Sentencing Guidelines by Gov. Time Walz. She is a 2019 Soros Justice Fellow, a 2019 Reimagining Communities Fellow with the National Council of Incarcerated & Formerly Incarcerated Women & Girls. She is the founder of We Rise Leadership Collective – formerly incarcerated women creating & shaping systems & policy with a transformative, restorative, and healing justice lens. Most recently she has partnered with multiple organizations including the MN Prison Doula Project, Minnesota Freedom Fund. She has facilitated trainings and been a guest speaker on a national level. Her passion and love for the community and people has been her motivation to carry this as her life’s work.
Tonja was named one of the 2018 Community Equity Pipeline Fellows through The Wilder Foundation, a policy & advocacy focused fellowship for people of color. The heart of Tonja’s work is to fight for women & their children who are experiencing or have experienced incarceration. She does this in her role as the head of the MN Prison Doula Project Leadership Circle. She also is a founding member of the Sprouting Birth Folks Collective, where she was organized and secured funding for Minnesota’s first IBPOC & formerly incarcerated focused doula training.