Tori grew up in Oakland, California, seeing first-hand the devastating impact that overpolicing and arbitrary criminalization had on marginalized communities. She attended Harvard Law School where she dedicated her time to building the skills to be a zealous public defender including becoming president of Harvard Defenders, a member of the Prison Legal Assistance Project, and by spending summers clerking at public defenders’ offices in San Francisco, Portland, and New Orleans.
After law school, Tori became a public defender at the Metropolitan Public Defender in Portland, OR, working with clients facing misdemeanor and, later, felony charges. She moved to Washington, DC, and joined the House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Reform’s Democratic Staff under late-Rep. Elijah Cummings eventually serving as Deputy Chief Oversight Counsel running the Committee’s justice and equity portfolio working to combat systemic racism. Most recently, she worked for the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice in their Policy and Strategy Section.