National LGBTQ Task Force Appoints Kierra Johnson New Deputy Executive Director

“…the right person at the right time.”

Washington, DC, Sept 26, 2017: The National LGBTQ Task Force announced today that Kierra Johnson has been named the organization’s next Deputy Executive Director. Currently the Executive Director of Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity (URGE), Johnson will join the Task Force staff on January 1, 2018.

“Now more than ever, it is important for the LGBTQ movement to stand firm in addressing the broad range of issues that face our lives, and for each of us to be our whole self each and every day. Kierra Johnson understands this and is the right person at the right time to join the leadership of the Task Force as we confront the social and political challenges of this time.  She instinctually, intellectually and strategically understands the Task Force’s work to build power, take action and create change to achieve freedom and justice for LGBTQ people and their families. Kierra brings to the Task Force her decades of work in program development and organizational management, as well as her tenacity and wit and will have the benefit of working with our deep bench of department managers and talented staff in fulfilling our vision,” said Rea Carey, Executive Director, National LGBTQ Task Force.

Kierra Johnson comes to the Task Force with a wealth of experience in program development, youth leadership and reproductive justice. Recognized as a national expert, Johnson has testified in front of the U.S. House of Representatives and has increased visibility of reproductive justice through her appearances in Newsweek, The New York Times, Fox News, and National Public Radio.

Johnson previously served on the National LGBTQ Task Force’s board of directors and on its National Action Council, and has keynoted at the organization’s annual Creating Change Conference. Johnson leaves a ten-year tenure as Executive Director at URGE, where she oversaw an organization-wide rebrand, expanded programs, strengthened the model for engaging young people in action and quadrupled the size of the organization. Prior to becoming URGE’s Executive Director, Johnson was the organization’s Development Director and Field Director. She has served on the boards of Groundswell, Center for Community Change and at the Women’s Information Network (WIN). Johnson has been recognized for her leadership with awards including the Young Women of Achievement Award for WIN in 2002, the Women of Vision Award for the Ms. Foundation for Women in 2013, and Washingtonian Magazine’s Most Influential Washingtonians Under 40 in 2009.

Carey added, “This role isn’t solely an internal management role – it is a LGBTQ movement leadership role. In the past, the Task Force’s Deputy Executive Director has helped coordinate the movement’s response to the Pulse nightclub shooting, overseen the bridge building work between the LGBTQ and other progressive movements, developed our marriage strategy and made strategic choices about how our programming can best serve LGBTQ people and their families. I’m excited to work with Kierra as my partner in leading the Task Force.”

In speaking of her appointment, Kierra Johnson said, “Dignity, liberation, joy, freedom, love and resistance are just a few of the words that I associate with the National LGBTQ Task Force. As a bisexual woman I am no stranger to being made invisible, advised to tone down, or trained in the art of the code switch. As a queer southern mom, it is no surprise why I would be drawn to an organization that touts the tagline ‘Be You.’ In these cultural and political times it is an act of resistance to live out loud and to lead and love with our full identities. I am excited to join the Task Force as the Deputy Executive Director. I welcome the opportunity to think strategically with a powerful team of leaders and be in service to those who are working to ensure that LGBTQ people – especially the most targeted among us – not only survive but thrive. I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and dive in to continue the ongoing and creative work of the Task Force to change hearts and minds, behavior and policies so that justice is no longer a vision but a reality for all!”

Colleagues and movement leaders praised Ms. Johnson’s work and appointment:
Cecile Richards, President, Planned Parenthood Federation of America – “Kierra’s dynamic and bold leadership has helped to shape the reproductive rights and justice movements by bringing a strong focus on centering the leadership of young people, LGBTQ communities and communities of color. Kierra’s decades of experience understanding the importance of intersectional and cross-movement organizing and strategy will be a wonderful addition to the very important and critical work that the National LGBTQ Task Force engages in every day.”

Jessica González Rojas, Executive Director at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health – “It has been tremendously rewarding and exciting to see what URGE has brought to the reproductive justice movement with Kierra at the helm. Kierra has been a bold, fierce and fearless leader, transforming this organization’s image, voice and mission into a dynamic, youth-led and youth focused organization. As a friend and partner in the movement for true equity and liberation for all people, I know that the Task Force has gained a brilliant and phenomenal leader and URGE’s vision will continue to be a powerful force for reproductive justice.”

Margaret Hempel, Director Gender, Racial and Ethnic Justice, Ford Foundation – “Working with Kierra for many years has allowed me to see firsthand the vision she had for URGE play out in real, tangible ways for young people advocating for reproductive justice. For URGE, there is no ‘hard to reach’ community. Their ability to engage honestly and directly with a diversity of young people across urban and rural America and inspire others with their mission to shift culture and change policies for the betterment of all, has made the organization a dynamic partner that will endure for many years to come.”

Russell Roybal, Chief Advancement Officer, San Francisco AIDS Foundation; former Deputy Executive Director, National LGBTQ Task Force – “Kierra Johnson is more than a leader. She is a force of nature. Her talent, skill and expertise is a huge addition to the fierceness that is the Task Force. I couldn’t be more excited or thrilled for her and the organization.”

Darlene Nipper, Chief Executive Officer, Rockwood Leadership Institute; former Deputy Executive Director, National LGBTQ Task Force – “Now more than ever our movement needs leaders like Kierra Johnson. She is a perfect fit for the Task Force with her deep organizing roots and an analysis of the systems that have pushed too many to the margins of society. She is a bold, brilliant and bright light working for liberation for all of us at a time when we need it most.”

Katherine Grainger, Esq, Principal, Civitas Public Affairs – “Kierra’s intersectional and innovative approach to movement building is critical and important. Kierra will be an invaluable and vital asset in advancing the Task Force’s work and mission.”


Contact: Sarah Massey 202 639-6308