(Washington, D.C., June 1, 2021) The National LGBTQ Task Force has named Mayra Hidalgo Salazar (she/her/ella) as its new Deputy Executive Director, effective today. Hidalgo Salazar will join recently appointed Executive Director Kierra Johnson (she/they) as part of a new and growing leadership team.
For the past 13 years, Hidalgo Salazar has been organizing for immigrant justice, as one of the catalysts and founders of the immigrant youth movement. Her appointment as Deputy Executive Director is a direct reflection of her tenacity and experience in organizing, fundraising and mobilizing communities who experience marginalization to demand respect and dignity. Hidalgo Salazar fills the Deputy Executive Director position that Johnson vacated when she became Executive Director in early 2021.
The Task Force has long been a beacon for justice and equality for all LGBTQ+ people. Hidalgo Salazar brings extensive experience in organizational management, strategy, and direction that will be an invaluable asset to The Task Force’s mission in building power in the LGBTQ+ community.
Mayra Hidalgo Salazar, Deputy Executive Director: “I am overjoyed to stand on the shoulders of the giants, elders in our movement who started the National LGBTQ Task Force over 40 years ago. The seeds that the Task Force has planted in training and developing LGBTQ+ leaders for nearly 5 decades are in full bloom. And, we are in an era where global uprisings demand justice and stronger democracies from Pulse to Minneapolis to Georgia to El Paso. As we see the convergence of police militarization, state sanctioned violence, widespread voter suppression, an ongoing global pandemic, and nearly half a million deportations under the current Presidential administration, we are at a crucial impasse that will define who we will be for generations to come. Trans, Queer, Black, Brown, and Indigenous people are the vanguards of social change and imagining new futures where we can thrive. The political moment does not just call for a robust organizing strategy that speaks to the mass activation of movement across the country, but for a vision rooted in collective care, where the wellness, joy, and pleasure of LGBTQ+ youth is a certainty and where our people are celebrated, not criminalized for their sexuality or gender.”
Hidalgo Salazar is a highly respected and passionate organizer, advocate, and activist. Originally from Costa Rica, her journey began as a teenager in Florida organizing undocumented youth, where she served as Campaign Manager for the “Trail of Dreams” a 1,500 mile walk from Miami to D.C. for immigrant rights at the age of 17. Brave and commanding at an extremely young age, she then went on to serve as a Youth Organizer and Board Member at the Florida Immigrant Coalition, organizing immigrant youth both in Florida and across the Deep South.
At 19, Hidalgo Salazar joined the Board of Directors at United We Dream (UWD), and subsequently co-founded United We Dream Action (UWDA), where she served as UWDA Board President. She most recently served as the Development Director at United We Dream, where she mobilized millions for the 2020 elections and to defend DACA in the courts. She leaves United We Dream after over 12 years of leadership in the organization. Hidalgo Salazar’s work has always been rooted in the realities of living as a queer, undocumented person. She has lived and worked at the intersections of identities and movements and it is this experience and an exceptional track record of success that is both inspiring and aligned with The Task Force’s long history of grassroots activism. Her time at United We Dream has been transformative to the organization and we know she will serve the Task Force well in this time as we deepen our commitment and work in promoting equity, justice and liberation for the LGBTQ community.
Kierra Johnson, Executive Director (she/they): “I could not be more excited to lead The Task Force with Mayra as Deputy Director. It is a thrilling and historic time for us. The LGBTQ community is not (nor has it ever been) a monolith. The fact is that we are a diverse, complex, ever-changing and growing community that has shifting needs and desires. To meet those needs, the Task Force is committed to being visionary, nimble, responsive to and reflective of our community. Mayra is inspirational and a fighter. She has a big heart but tolerates nothing less than the best work on behalf of our communities. She is committed to resisting xenophobia, white supremacy and economic and racial injustice and she is also deeply committed to celebration, joy and camaraderie. Mayra is just what the movement doctor ordered! Together with the diverse and committed staff of the Task Force, I know the work ahead will be inspiring, impactful and uncompromising.”
STATEMENTS FROM COLLEAGUES
“With every bold step Mayra Hidalgo Salazar took as the Campaign Manager for the Trail of Dreams as an openly queer undocumented woman, she transformed fear into courage for people like myself, generating the momentum that fostered the birth of the immigrant youth movement as we know it today—a movement founded by queer people of color and that today harnesses its power at the intersection of immigrant justice and LGBTQ liberation.
During her time at United We Dream, she co-founded United We Dream Action and built the undeniable power and infrastructure that defeated Trump and has challenged the deportation machine by mobilizing resources and training coming generations of immigrant youth leaders.
Working with Mayra now for nearly a decade, I have witnessed first hand her wholesome and community-rooted leadership as she nurtures leaders to flourish through a holistic vision that builds and paves the way for queer, trans young people of color to come into their power.
As she rises in her role as Deputy Executive Director for the National LGBTQ Task Force she brings our collective medicine and a deep understanding of the rising New American Majority. I’m excited for our movements to be bound together as we are bound to win!”
Monserrat Padilla, National UndocuTrans Immigrant Advocate, Program Officer of Satterberg Foundation, and former Co-Director of the Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network
“Without reservation I can say that Mayra has exceeded any expectation I have ever held for one of our youth leaders in the Florida movement for immigrant and social justice.
Mayra’s maturity, bravery, and perseverance distinguishes her as an imposing yet humble leader who has embraced all aspects of what makes social movements effective. She is committed to creative grassroots organizing, has led civic engagement efforts in key areas of a battleground state, and understands the value of resource mobilization.
For her clarity of direction and principled leadership, I hold no doubt that Mayra Hidalgo Salazar is a woman who is destined to change history, and at the Florida Immigrant Coalition, we have no hesitation in affirming that she is an invaluable asset to our state and to our nation. The National LGBTQ Task Force is gaining a seasoned strategist who has time and time again proven to be a force of nature in our movement.”
Maria Rodríguez, Executive Director, Florida Immigrant Coalition
“Mayra is a compassionate and focused leader with incredible insight and a presence that sees obstacles as movable, not insurmountable. Those who have worked with her feel the essence of her passion and rigor in all that she touches in this work. In every role Mayra has undertaken, she has built up a cadre of young leaders around her and in our movement; LGBTQ+ immigrant youth have especially shared in the riches of her wisdom. I know the Task Force will be forever changed by her passionate, wise, young leadership that has already shaped our movements in so many ways and more ways to come.”
Mustafa Sullivan, Executive Director, FIERCE!
“Mayra Hidalgo Salazar is a principled, impactful visionary that has always centered transformative change for BIPoC and Queer communities. Her direct and strategic acumen coupled with her deep expertise of radical social justice movements places her at the intersection of hope, possibility, and action. The National LGBTQ Task Force will only continue to flourish with her authentic, values based, highly effective leadership. She is a true Chingona ready to blaze trails and build tangible, real change.”
Manuela Arciniegas, Director, Andrus Family Fund
The National LGBTQ Task Force advances full freedom, justice, and equity for LGBTQ people. We are building a future where everyone can be free to be their entire selves in every aspect of their lives. Today, despite all the progress we’ve made to end discrimination, millions of LGBTQ people face barriers in every aspect of their lives: in housing, employment, healthcare, retirement, and basic human rights. For more information go to https://dev.thetaskforce.org