Tonya Phillips

Tonya Phillips

Tonya Phillips

  • Biography

     Tonya Myers Phillips is an attorney who advocates for equitable and inclusive public policy. She is the Community Partnerships & Development Director for the Sugar Law Center for Economic & Social Justice in Detroit. In this role, she develops relationships and attracts funding to support the work of the Sugar Law Center. Tonya also negotiates community benefits agreements (CBA) for community groups and advocates for the expanded and intersectional use of CBAs as an equitable development tool.

    Tonya also consults with Michigan Legal Services on housing policies for low-income families as the Public Policy Advisor. She is a founding member and the Project Leader for the Detroit Right to Counsel Coalition and the ERASE Project Lead for the Keeping Detroiters in their Homes initiative. Tonya is also a Wayne State University Law School part-time faculty member.

    Tonya has over nineteen years of legal experience and twenty-nine years of professional public service experience. Tonya received her bachelor's degree with honors from the University of Michigan and her law degree from the University of Michigan Law School. Tonya was selected to serve on the City of Detroit Charter Revision Commission from 2010-2012. She has received several honors, including the Distinguished Young Lawyer Award from the Wolverine Bar Association, the Maryann Mahaffey Public Servant of the Year Award and the Community Advocate of the Year from the United Community Housing Coalition, the Ally Award from the Mary Turner Center for Advocacy, and the Spirit of Detroit Award from the Detroit City Council.

    Ms. Phillips devotes valuable time to her community by serving on the Board of Directors for Community Development Advocates of Detroit, Sidewalk Festival Detroit, the Community Tech Collective Advisory Board, the State Fairgrounds Development Coalition Steering Committee, and her neighborhood block club. Tonya served on the Justice Policy Initiatives Committee and the Character and Fitness Committee for the State Bar of Michigan. Tonya has also served on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity-Detroit, the Wolverine Bar Association, and Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice.

    Tonya resides in Detroit with her husband and son and enjoys reading, cooking, and spending time with family and friends.


  • Courses Taught
    Community Advocacy Clinic
  • Courses taught by Tonya Phillips