Just as the fight for racial justice isn’t complete without centering the experiences of queer and trans black folks, the movement for gender equality is similarly inadequate if it doesn’t directly address the concerns of Black and transgender people.
Recognizing this fact, the Ms. Foundation for Women has named trans activist and writer Raquel Willis as its new director of communications. The foundation is one of the largest and most well-known nonprofits in the country dedicated to the economic, social, and cultural advancement of women. In the role, Willis will be responsible for planning and executing the foundation’s communications strategy, as well as making sure Black women and other women of color are centered with regard to leadership and resourcing, Willis said in a tweet Friday morning.
Willis, who previously served as the Executive Editor of Out Magazine, noted that the Ms. Foundation has recently shown its commitment to Black women through its funding of 15 organizations led by women and girls of color.
“Raquel is a revolutionary voice who is moving us all forward and I am proud to welcome her to the Ms. Foundation team,” Ruth McFarlane, Vice President of Advancement of the Ms. Foundation for Women, said in a press release. “A lifelong activist, Raquel has used her platform to lift up women, especially Black transgender women, and others on the margins of social justice movements. We are incredibly fortunate to have her vision for the future shaping our communications strategy as we continue to fight for gender equity and racial justice.”
Willis brings with her both breadth and depth of experience as journalist and media strategist, as well as credibility as an organizer and advocate.
“As a Black trans woman, it’s especially key to me that Ms. Foundation prioritizes our leadership as well,” Willis said on Twitter. Speaking specifically about her work going forward, Willis noted that part of her work will be in breaking down narrow, restrictive approaches to gender:
“Our fight is for the women and girls who struggle to be seen as smart and capable leaders, for the men and boys who struggle to express their emotions and be tender, and everyone else [whose] lives straddle all of those struggles and more.”