I wish I could say I had the foresight to hire Toni Newman because I understood how the right would weaponize the transgender community. Unfortunately, I am not that smart. It was the constant punching down that clarified NMAC’s responsibility. Toni is the Director of NMAC’s newest program, Coalition for Justice and Equality Across Movements. After the court case in Texas and the governor’s decision in Tennessee, NMAC understood the need to build a bigger tent by working in coalition with other movements who are also under attack.
Given the onslaught of hate against her community, I’ve asked Toni to step into the spotlight, and she needs your support, especially as the world propagates lies, misinformation, and violence against her people. As a transgender Black woman, her voice and those of her peers are central in the larger culture wars. The transgender community shoulders the burden of over 450 anti-LGBTQ pieces of legislation. Please read Toni’s Op-Ed that was published in The Hill.
Key Message: Health Equity
A key message for why other movements want to work in coalition with NMAC… HEALTH EQUITY. Across movements, leaders shared how they could get behind a coalition that prioritizes this critical issue. As we know, communities of color, the LGBTQ+ community, and many economically-disadvantaged groups don’t have access to the health care they need. It’s an issue that impacts tens of millions of Americans, and leaders across movements shared their interest to build a coalition that prioritizes tangible ways of advancing health equity.
The transgender community is taking it on the chin. Our movement needs to elevate their voices and be an ally in the fight. With all the hate from the right, the stories of transgender heroes need to be told in their beauty, complexity, and challenges. It is not easy to be transgender in America. I’m sharing this information to be transparent as NMAC works to give Toni a bigger platform. During this difficult political moment, we will lead with Toni in our outreach to media and work across movements.
The way America treats the transgender community becomes a mirror for our country’s support of people who are different. To everyone’s frustration, they are trying to fit square pegs into round holes. This struggle will define our nation for generations. To humanize the people that they vilify, NMAC enlisted The Raben Group for support with communications. During this difficult political moment, we need professional help, especially working the corridors of power in DC. This firm is part of a larger strategy to get NMAC and our movement ready for the culture wars. I’m concerned this will be a war like we’ve never seen. It’s already started with the multiple pieces of legislation, the banning of books, and the erasure of the right to an abortion.
The HIV movement must stand in coalition with other movements to support the multiple communities under attack. This includes abortion, equality, gun control, adoption, affirmative action, immigration, and the myriad of issues disproportionately impacting our families. We are stronger with others and it’s time to build bridges across movements.
As we’ve always said, the messenger is as important as the message. Putting Toni in this role is how we live our values, but it won’t work without your support. It’s about fighting for all the communities highly impacted by HIV and holding-up the voices of the oppressed.
Yours in the Struggle,