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HRC announces Kelley Robinson as new president

Kelley Robinson
Kelley Robinson Photo: HRC

The national LGBTQ organization Human Right Campaign (HRC) has announced that its new president is Kelley Robinson. Robinson is the first Black woman to lead the organization.

“I’m honored and ready to lead HRC — and our more than three million member-advocates — as we continue working to achieve equality and liberation for all Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer people,” Robinson said in a press release.

Robinson worked as a community organizer during Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign in 2008. Since then, she has worked in organizing, eventually becoming the executive director of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and the vice president of advocacy and organizing at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Both organizations fight for reproductive choice, access to health care, and women’s equality.

Which means that the start of her tenure is apropos; just this past June the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, ending the constitutional right to an abortion in the U.S.

Robinson cited the Supreme Court decision in the press release announcing her new position.

“We, particularly our trans and BIPOC communities, are quite literally in the fight for our lives and facing unprecedented threats that seek to destroy us,” she said. “The overturning of Roe v. Wade reminds us we are just one Supreme court decision away from losing fundamental freedoms including the freedom to marry, voting rights, and privacy. We are facing a generational opportunity to rise to these challenges and create real, sustainable change. I believe that working together this change is possible right now. This next chapter of the Human Rights Campaign is about getting to freedom and liberation without any exceptions — and today I am making a promise and commitment to carry this work forward.”

HRC’s previous president, Alphonso David, was fired last September following allegations by the attorney general of New York that he was tangentially involved in a conspiracy to silence a woman who had accused former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) of sexual harassment.

In New York Attorney General Letitia James’ August 2021 report on her investigation into the sexual harassment allegations against Cuomo, she wrote that David forwarded the personnel files of accuser Lindsey Boylan to the governor’s office as required. Those files were then leaked to the press to try and discredit her. David was asked to sign a letter that questioned Boylan’s motivations; he suggested edits but refused to sign himself. The letter was never released.

HRC launched an investigation into David’s actions shortly after, and David later said that HRC’s investigation into him had cleared him of all wrongdoing. HRC’s board said his statement was untrue and he was fired after that.

In February 2022, David announced that he was suing HRC, saying racial discrimination is “rife” at the LGBTQ organization. “HRC underpaid David, and then terminated him, because he is Black,” his complaint states.

“I had to challenge a system and a pattern of bias that has not only affected me, but it has affected way too many Black and Brown people,” David told the Washington Post in an interview. “Discrimination and bias are rife within HRC. And I’m just the latest person to be affected.”

Robinson touted her identities and experience in a video announcing her.

“I am a Black, Queer mother and wife,” she said. “And to be able to say that — and to be acknowledged and celebrated in that way — is the direct result of the work of organizations like HRC. At the core of HRC’s work is the ability to create the families of our dreams and to fight for more rights and freedoms for the next generation than we can even imagine in our own.”

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