Rea Carey will step down at National LGBTQ Task Force in February

Rea Carey and. Kierra Johnson on stage in 2019
Rea Carey will be leaving the National LGBTQ Task Force in February 2021. Kierra Johnson has been selected as the next Executive Director

Kierra Johnson selected as the Executive Director at the Task Force

The National LGBTQ Task Force said longtime Executive Director Rea Carey will be stepping down in early 2021. Carey has been with the organization since 2003 as a Senior Strategist, then Deputy Executive Director, and became its Executive Director in 2008.

“It has been a remarkable ride, just to be alive during a time of such progress” – Rea carey

The Board of Directors unanimously selected Kierra Johnson, who has served as Deputy Executive Director since 2018, as Carey’s replacement effective February 1, 2021.

Carey is a respected leader in the LGBTQ movement. She advanced a vision of freedom for LGBTQ people and their families that is broad, inclusive and progressive said a Task Force news release late last month. “It has been a remarkable ride,” said Carey. “Just to be alive during a time of such progress over the last many years has been astounding, and to serve the LGBTQ community in my 17 years at the National LGBTQ Task Force has been the joy and honor of a lifetime. We have faced down many obstacles together and made tangible progress for LGBTQ people and our families.

Kierra is the perfect person for the times, to lead the Task Force

“Together, we have fought to love who we want to love, for sexual freedom, to be free of violence and oppression in all its forms, to be seen, valued, and celebrated as fully human. The Task Force is and always will be my activist home. As I move on, I am happy to leave the Task Force in a stable, sustainable place and am excited for our community and country to benefit from all that Kierra will bring to this role. She is the perfect person for the times, to lead the Task Force and the movement to adapt and to achieve the new dreams our future holds.”

“Rea has been the glue that’s held our movement together in rough times,” said Matt Foreman, Senior Program Director, Haas Jr. Fund. Foreman is a former Task Force Executive Director. “While Kierra has big shoes to fill, I have complete confidence in her ability to do that and more,” he continued.

“I am thrilled to join the long, proud legacy of the many powerful activists that have led this amazing organization,” said Kierra Johnson in the news release. “While the world grapples with the convergence of so many storms rooted in injustice, we are proud to stand at the center as an LGBTQ+ voice across our many identities and issues. I am inspired by the multitudes of Black, Brown and Indigenous people that have unapologetically claimed space, power and influence to make change so desperately needed for our communities.

“The Task Force will work to create a world where checking boxes is obsolete, but health, wellness, equity, justice, joy and pleasure are accessible to everyone, said Johnson. “I look forward to building on the powerful legacy of the National LGBTQ Task Force. Through devastating defeats and glorious victories, the Task Force has always been there for our entire community. Whether we are in the streets or in the halls of Congress, we will lead and leverage our LGBTQ+ power alongside our allies and colleagues to rebuild our democracy, combat discrimination in all forms, and ensure economic stability and equity for all.”

The Task Force Board of Directors said Rea Carey has enabled the Task Force to lead a generation’s contribution towards social justice. “She has led the Task Force during one of the largest expansions of rights for LGBTQ people in our nation’s history and has shown that progress comes through collaboration, a range of strategies, and a focus on the connections between the many ways LGBTQ people live their lives.

“Kierra Johnson, who speaks to this moment with fierceness and compassion that are entirely her own. Kierra is an activist, an artist and an advocate for all that is righteous. Her background in reproductive justice speaks to the breadth and intersectionality of the Task Force’s mission, and her experiences as a BIPOC will resonate with so many in our economically, racially, sexually, and otherwise diverse community.”

Kierra Johnson joined the Task Force in 2018 as Deputy Executive Director

During Carey’s tenure, she has led the Task Force to conduct its work through a racial, economic, gender and social justice lens, and to serve as a progressive voice in the LGBTQ community. More recently, the Task Force’s campaigns, including the Queer the Census and Queer the Vote initiatives, have been critical to ensuring LGBTQ voices are heard publicly and behind the scenes with policymakers at federal agencies.

Prior to her work with the Task Force, Carey worked extensively in HIV/AIDS prevention and activism on issues affecting youth experiencing homelessness and LGBTQ youth, and in organization and leadership development. Carey is a Hunt Alternatives’ Prime Movers Fellow, served on the board of the Alliance for Justice, and currently serves on the boards of directors for the Flamboyan Foundation and the Freeman Foundation.

The Task Force’s next Executive Director, Kierra Johnson, joined the Task Force in 2018 as Deputy Executive Director but was already engaged with the organization, having previously served on the National LGBTQ Task Force’s board of directors and on its National Action Council. Johnson came to the Task Force, after serving as URGE’s Executive Director.  She is recognized as a national expert on queer and reproductive rights issues and has testified in front of the U.S. House of Representatives.  Johnson also serves on the boards of directors of the General Service Foundation, Groundswell Fund, and Guttmacher Institute. As a, pansexual Black woman, Johnson will become one of few out queer-identified women of color at the helm of a national LGBTQ organization.