About LATONYA "ABYS" WALLACE

LaTonya "Abys" Wallace was born in Hampton, VA, and was raised with her older brother by her strong-willed mother.  From the age of 11, she was interested in music, which eventually led her to meet her soulmate, Quincy “Abu” Jones, and move to Newport News in 2000. In December 2003, shortly after the birth of their daughter, he was taken by gun violence while waiting for a cab.  In 2006, LaTonya channeled her grief into community activism by founding the Abu Unity Foundation to prevent gun violence through mentorship and education. 


In 2014, LaTonya’s journey in the progressive movement began when she realized how many of the community problems she cared about were a direct result of the political process. She decided to attend Camp Wellstone Organizer Training to fight for progressive change effectively. She took that training and worked as a community organizer for the Democratic Party of Virginia during the 2016 election. 


This journey led LaTonya to run for Newport News City Council in 2018, where she saw that many of them feel that their city government does not represent them. She learned the issues confronting people across the South District and heard the stories of so many citizens who lack basic necessities and resources.


LaTonya currently works as the Data and Technology Manager for the Virginia Civic Engagement Table, a progressive nonprofit dedicated to protecting Virginia's Democracy and engaging underserved communities in the political process. 


LaTonya is registered to conduct voter registration drives, holds regular voter participation workshops to help citizens make change beyond the ballot box, and collaborates with other progressive organizations. She is a part of Data for Black Lives, a group dedicated to using data science as protest, accountability, and collective action to create Equity in the lives of Black and Brown people. She continues to volunteer as a mentor for young people from 12-24.