December Constituent of the Month: Dr. Tolonda Tolbert

Eric Adams

December 01, 2012

Dr. Tolonda Tolbert has been living in Lefferts Gardens for the past 10 years. She fell in love with the “old-school” community feel of the diverse neighborhood, where people watch out for each other’s children and can often be found sitting with a neighbor on the stoop with a glass of wine during the summer.

Dr. Tolbert became a member of the Lincoln Road R&B Block Association soon after moving to the neighborhood, and has been its President for the last 6 years. Committed to investing in the community where she raises her two sons, her approach to community advocacy is based on inclusion – “every voice counts.” Under her leadership, her block has received the New Yorkers for Better Neighborhood Grant, which was used for a project called Bridges in Brooklyn, which sought to develop relationships between the youth and the elders on the block through documenting the history of the neighborhood, and the Love Your Block Grant that they used to replace a fence and clean up the one poorly maintained tenement building on the block of residential homes. Tolbert has also led her block to two first place finishes in The Greenest Block in Brooklyn Contest, and one second place finish.

For the past fifteen years, Dr. Tolonda Tolbert, the founder of Diversity Speaks NYC, has worked as a diversity consultant and independent researcher in New York City. Currently an adjunct professor at NYU’s Silver School of Social Work, she teaches graduate classes on diversity, racism, oppression and privilege, while also continuing as a national facilitator on social justice issues for the Anti-Defamation League’s A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE Institute®, GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network), and Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility.

She lives in Lefferts Garden with her husband and her two sons, Makai (9) & Silas (6).