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PASSAGES Pioneering LGBTQ advocate Donna Red Wing dies, organizations respond
From press releases
2018-04-16

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From One Iowa:

[Des Moines]—Donna Red Wing passed away on Monday, April 16 after a courageous battle with lung cancer. Red Wing served as executive director of One Iowa from 2012-2016, expanding the organization's work into new arenas after the battle for marriage equality ended.

"Donna was a force to be reckoned with and will be greatly missed by individuals across the country. She called herself an activist and an agitator and prided herself in being called the most dangerous woman by the Christian Coalition at one point." One Iowa Executive Director Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel said. "Donna inspired so many including myself. I was lucky enough to get to know her when she first came to Iowa and co-founded One Iowa's LGBTQ Health and Wellness Conference. I wouldn't be where I am today without Donna's support and mentorship."

Red Wing was a national leader in the fight for LGBTQ equality, dedicating over three decades of her life to advocating for the LGBTQ community. She was once called "the most dangerous woman in America" by anti-LGBTQ activists due to her charismatic and civil approach to activism, a title she wore with great pride. In addition to leading One Iowa for four years, she launched an LGBT Advisory Council while serving as a Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Commissioner and briefly served as director of the Eychaner Foundation during her time in Iowa.

Prior to moving to Iowa, Red Wing served as Executive Director of Grassroots Leadership and Chief of Staff at Interfaith Alliance in Washington D.C. She was co-chair of the Obama for America 2008 LGBT Leadership Council and Howard Dean's outreach liaison to the LGBT community. Red Wing also held leadership positions at the Gill Foundation, Human Rights Campaign and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. While directing the Lesbian Community Project in Oregon, she was featured in a Sundance Award-winning film about the 1992 struggle against the anti-LGBT Ballot Measure 9.

Red Wing was the first recipient of the Walter Cronkite Award for Faith & Freedom. The Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Commission recently named their annual Lifetime Achievement award after Red Wing in recognition of her decades of activism.

"Donna's passion and dedication to serving the LGBTQ community was unparalleled, and I am honored to have known and worked with her," One Iowa Board Emeritus Sharon Malheiro said. "Our community has lost a fierce advocate, and many of us have lost an incredible friend, mentor, and inspiration. My heart is with Sumitra and the rest of Donna's family."

A celebration of Red Wing's life will be held at a later date.

One Iowa is a statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning ( LGBTQ ) organization working toward equality for LGBTQ individuals through grassroots efforts, education and advocacy.

Find out more at www.oneiowa.org .

From Human Rights Campaign:

WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, released the following statement mourning the loss of Donna Red Wing:

"The HRC family is deeply saddened by the loss of our friend, Donna Red Wing. She dedicated her life's work to civil rights and her legacy will forever be woven into the fabric of the LGBTQ equality movement," said HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs, JoDee Winterhof. "Many in the HRC family had the honor of working alongside Donna during her time as HRC's National Field Director and across many states and campaigns in more recent years. For more than three decades, generations of advocates bore witness to Donna's tenacity, deep commitment to equality and justice, and her many accomplishments, which inspired all those around her. Our hearts go out to Donna's family and many friends who are grieving her loss."

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.


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