The National LGBTQ Task Force today announced the addition of two new staff members and the consolidation of two departments as part of the organization’s growth and restructure under the leadership of recently named Executive Director Kierra Johnson.
Andy Garcia, formerly Creating Change Conference Director, will now head a combined department of conference, policy, and advocacy staff as Director of the Advocacy and Action Department. Ashawnda Fleming joins the Task Force Development Department and Leadership Team as the new Chief Development Officer, and Desiree Luckey has been appointed Senior Policy Counsel, focusing on the organization’s democracy work.
Garcia, who has served for three years at the Task Force as the director of Creating Change, the largest LGBTQ activist conference in the nation, brings diverse experiences that will serve him well in this new position. Garcia has a long-standing career in the LGBTQ movement, having worked with the statewide advocacy organizations as a program manager at the Equality Federation, and has extensive experience in HIV prevention and direct youth service and advocacy, as well as overseeing the evolution and continued success of the Creating Change conference, this year held virtually for over 2500 attendees.
“It is very exciting to see our staff grow and our programmatic departments merge,” said Kierra Johnson, who took the helm as Executive Director on February 1, 2021. “Alignment and impact are critical as we ramp up our work to create change in our communities at this unique and extraordinarily important time. As we await a critical decision from the Supreme Court on the Fulton case, we are committed to working with the new Biden-Harris administration in ensuring our community is included in all proposed solutions related to the on-going pandemic, racial inequity and the suffering economy,” continued Johnson. “The Task Force is all-in as we fight for passage of the Equality Act in the Senate and continue to combat pervasive anti-LGBTQ forces on all fronts. We have an opportunity to make progress in 2021 toward our goal of true freedom and equity for ALL. We cannot and will not settle for “partial equality. We deserve to live and thrive with dignity and be free from all violence and all discrimination all of the time,” concluded Johnson.
“I look forward to the opportunities this new position presents for the Task Force, said Garcia. “Combining our advocacy and organizing work with the power of the Creating Change Conference means our work will be even more responsive to and impactful during such an important time for our movement,” continued Garcia. “From our campaign to get the Equality Act signed into law, to amplifying the voices of LGBTQ affirming faith communities, to expanding our work on reproductive justice and focusing on strengthening our democracy, I am thrilled to work with our team of policy, conference and organizing staff,” concluded Garcia.
Dr. Fleming’s first day with the Task Force was Monday, February 22, 2021. She brings more than twenty years of nonprofit management experience. She has served as the Chief Executive Officer of the American Psychological Foundation and the Executive Director of the Hetrick Martin Institute New Jersey. She has also served as Chief Development Officer to national nonprofits, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Prevent Child Abuse, and First Candle/SIDS Alliance. She is a skilled fundraiser with proven ability to raise significant revenue, both cash and in-kind, by masterfully communicating the essential mission of an organization. Her efforts have raised millions. Her career of service began in the late 1990s when she was appointed to the position of Vice President of Clinical Compliance for the largest substance abuse and mental health provider in the Mid-Atlantic region, which included managing a staff of 150. She has written, secured, and supervised national research initiatives funded by the National Institutes of Health and the United States Department of Justice.
Dr. Fleming holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from The American University in Washington, D.C., a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from St. Thomas University in Miami, FL, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications from Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, FL.
Desiree Luckey’s first day with the Task Force was also Monday, February 22, 2021. Most recently, she was a Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellow on the Reproductive Rights & Health Team at the National Women’s Law Center, where she focused on health equity issues. She has tangentially been part of the Task Force family as a member of the Creating Change Host Committee for the 2018 conference, as well as a presenter in 2017 and 2020. A proud graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and Howard University, she has lived in the D.C. area for the better part of the past 13 years.
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