Nadine Smith


Few people have been busier this year in Ron DeSantis country than Nadine Smith, executive director of Equality Florida. “Most of our organizations were in big, progressive cities and yet the biggest decisions impacting our lives were being made in state legislatures,” says journalist-turnedorganizer Nadine Smith. “Equality Florida was born out of a commitment to hold accountable lawmakers at every level of government, particularly the state legislature.” Before co-founding Equality Florida—the largest organization in the state committed to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity—Smith was a national co-chair of the 1993 March on Washington, and was part of the first Oval Office meeting between a sitting President (Bill Clinton) and LGBTQ+ community leaders. In her current position, Smith says, “I like the multigenerational team I get to work with. We benefit from the wisdom and experiences of seasoned activists and we have younger, fresher eyes and perspectives to ensure we aren’t calcified in outdated ideas.” Smith, who also served on President Obama’s National Finance Committee and who was named to TIME’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people last year, brings her identity as an LGBTQ+ woman into all her work. “The further from the mainstream, the better view you get of the whole board,” she says. “It has helped me understand the interconnectedness of our lives and why we have to stand together across all the differences used to divide and diminish us.” Two surprising facts about her: “I like battle rap and I have been a professional Shakespearean actor.”

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