Two key additions to the Task Force will help blaze a trail for intersectional Pride.
Long time organizer and facilitator Gaby Garcia-Vera has been named the new Field Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force. Garcia-Vera comes to the Task Force with 16 years of organizing experience and a passion for intersectional social justice movements and activism, with a particular focus and experience in reproductive justice. Garcia-Vera’s years of experience working in the field and passion for an intersectional approach to LGBTQ liberation makes Garcia-Vera a much welcomed addition to the Task Force.
Garcia-Vera has previously served as a Senior Advisor to Consult Catalina, as well as Catholics for Choice, where Garcia-Vera was the States Program Manager, working on reproductive health within Catholic communities. As a 2021 Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice Fellow with Rockwood Leadership Institute, Garcia-Vera comes to the Task Force with great care for reproductive justice, informing their work on racial equity with a pro-Black lens, immigrant rights, and LGBTQ liberation.
Gaby Garcia-Vera said: “I am overjoyed and honored to join the team at The National LGBTQ Task Force, an organization that has helped shape, define, and inform my own understanding of politics, power and sexual & reproductive liberation for over a decade. As a young, Queer, Latinx, Catholic growing up between Puerto Rico and Miami it felt hard to see myself in the world. We are all someone’s ancestor and we can all build on the foundation laid for our community’s liberation. I extend an invitation to those of you out there seeking to build communities where “you can be you” in your fullest self. Join us in building a a political home for Queer Democracy where political change isn’t just simply an idea but a reality.”
Queer, Latinx and Puerto Rican, Garcia-Vera’s work is centered in the many ways in which LGBTQ Liberation depends on liberation for all. Garcia-Vera has spent nearly 10 years on the leadership team at Union=Fuerza Latinx Institute at the Creating Change Conference. Garcia-Vera is also an abortion doula through Ancient Song Doula Services, a former member of the Trevor Project’s National Youth Advisory Council, and an experienced leader of multilingual outreach work.
Garcia-Vera’s appointment to Field Director is another recent addition to the leadership at the National LGBTQ Task Force and the organization is thrilled to welcome Garcia-Vera to the team at an exciting moment for the future of LGBTQ justice.
Andy Garcia, Director of Advocacy and Action: “I am thrilled to welcome Gaby to the Advocacy and Action Department as Field Director. Gaby is not new to the Task Force or our work, having partnered with the Creating Change Conference for nearly a decade as a presenter, facilitator, and co-chair of the Unión=Fuerza Latinx Institute. Gaby’s impressive organizing history in LGBTQ, reproductive, racial, and language justice movements makes them an amazing addition to the Task Force. Gaby embodies the Task Force’s mission and values and they are perfectly suited for this role during this historic moment in the movement for LGBTQ freedom, justice, equity, and liberation.”
It comes as the National LGBTQ Task Force also 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.
Mayra Hidalgo Salazar, Deputy Executive Director said: “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 Board President. She most recently served as the Development Director 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.