|A graduate of East Carolina University, Tonza D. Ruffin earned her B.A. in Political Science with a minor in Women’s Studies. She went on to earn her Juris Doctorate Degree from Georgia State University College of Law. After being admitted to the North Carolina Bar, Tonza began her career, twenty years ago, as an attorney in Eastern North Carolina where she has dedicated her career to defending individuals charged with crimes that range from capital murder to minor misdemeanor offenses.
In addition to running her legal practice, Tonza has served on the Faculty of the Felony Defender Trial School at the UNC Chapel Hill Institute of Government, the Board of Directors for the Center for Death Penalty Litigation, the Board of Directors for KIPP ENC and the North Carolina Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparities. In 2015, Tonza was selected by the North Carolina Indigent Defense Services Commission to receive the “Professor John Rubin Award for Extraordinary Contributions to Indigent Defense Services Training Programs”.
In 2016, Tonza decided to pursue her passion for writing and began her blog SouthernMomJD. SouthernMomJD was filled with many heartfelt, funny, and transparent stories about Tonza’s journey as a southern woman, southern lawyer, and southern mom. SouthernMomJD has not evolved into Tonza D. Ruffin LLC, a digital media company committed to unifying and empowering women across generational lines. In addition, Tonza is a guest columnist for her hometown newspaper, the Bertie-Ledger Advance, is a co-author in the anthology, Divorced…Not Devastated and is the author of Pieces of Me, Vibin’ With Tonza: Affirmations and Activities to Encourage Women on Their Path to Empowerment, Gregarious Gabby: Not Your Typical Girly Girl, and Gregarious Gabby:Growing Up But Still Not Your Typical Girly Girl.
Tonza’s most important accomplishment, she is the proud mother of three beautiful girls; Sierra, Alyssa, and Gabriella!