Toni Smith

Director of New York State

Toni Smith is the New York State Director at DPA, where she works in partnership with grassroots groups to advance public health solutions that support people who use drugs and end the War on Drugs in New York.

Prior to joining the Drug Policy Alliance, Toni worked in the Field Department of the New York Civil Liberties Union where she worked to change laws, hearts, and minds to reduce discrimination and punishment of Black and Brown students and build a strong and fair public school system. Through this work, she was name to the 2021 and 2022 City and State New York’s Power 100 Education list.

Toni graduated from Manhattanville College in 2003 with a degree in sociology. As a senior and co-captain of the women’s basketball team, Toni sparked national debate about freedom of speech over her protest for racial and economic justice during the playing of the national anthem before basketball games. Toni has built a career in social justice work by supporting and developing young people, organizing with communities, and influencing lawmakers. In 2022, Toni earned a Doctor of Humane Letters from Manhattanville College for her advocacy for human rights and social justice.

From her experience protesting in college, Toni speaks on TV, in writing, and in classrooms across the country about how race and politics influence sport in the United States. Toni lives in New York City and is the parent of three children who attend New York City public schools.

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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