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Women Warriors Week Six: Dionne Dowdy

Each week, the Guiding Circle of the Fund for Women and Girls selects one Woman Warrior from submitted nominations to spotlight. This week features our sixth dedicated honoree.

Fighting to Protect Returning Citizens During COVID-19

One woman provides support and essentials to incarcerated and returning citizens

Dionne Dowdy is the executive director of United Returning Citizens, a nonprofit organization serving formerly incarcerated citizens as well as the larger community which has been affected by mass incarceration. She is also the board president for Community Legal Aid, and continuously works to demonstrate to incarcerated and returning citizens that their safety and livelihood, both inside and outside of detention centers, is a priority.

Dionne has dedicated herself to supporting returning citizens through re-entry support and entrepreneur development, legal assistance and policy and advocacy. During the pandemic, she has worked tirelessly to ensure those impacted by job loss are able to maintain their housing and stability, as well as have essential goods. Creating care baskets filled with toiletries and critical healthcare items, she established an online intake application to streamline basket distribution for returning citizens and their families. In addition, her organization has been helping residents with rent, phone bills, medical expenses, and other essential services.

Concerned about the increasing death toll in the prison system due to COVID-19 and the inability of persons incarcerated to properly practice social distancing, Dionne is working to ensure detainees in Mahoning and Trumbull County jails, as well as in local Juvenile Justice Centers have personal protection equipment (PPE). Organizing volunteers, Dionne spearheads efforts to produce and distribute masks to inmates, so that they have the ability to protect themselves from the virus.

Dionne is a true Woman Warrior on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, fighting for the rights, health, and well-being of incarcerated and returning citizens and their families. It is women like her who will help our community make it through this #Together.

If you know a woman doing great things during these uncertain times, please nominate her for Women Warriors today!