In the second installment of 'Someone You Should Know' we're taking a look at the life and work of South Florida gay activist Nadine Smith.
A resident of St. Petersburg, Florida, Nadine has been a leader in the fight for social justice and equality for the LGBT community for over two decades. She currently holds the position as executive director of Equality Florida and has led the organization since its inception in 1997. She joined the organization in 1993 after serving as one of four national co-chairs on the 1993 March on Washington and taking part in the historic, first-ever meeting between LGBT leaders and a sitting U.S. president (Clinton) in the White House.
She also sits on the oversight committee for Florida's Fairness for All Families, an organization created to educate Floridians about the truth of the discriminatory Florida Marriage Protection Amendment.
Nadine's work with Equality Florida couldn't be more needed during a time when the 'Sunshine State' has seen an increase in violent deaths among its LGBT citizens and heated confrontations with city officials regarding gay rights.
Nadine experienced first hand the extent of anti-gay sentiment in her state in 2007 when she was arrested for passing out fliers that simply stated "Don't Discriminate", in defense of Steve Stanton, a city manager who was fired after announcing his plans to undergo gender re-assignment surgery.
She was extremely vocal during the attacks on the LGBT community initiated by Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle as well as the senseless deaths of Ryan Skipper and the less publicized death of Simmie Williams days after the Lawrence King murder.
Recently her efforts have been focused on defeating proposition #2, an amendment created to ban any legal recognition of same -sex relationships(including civil unions and domestic partnerships) as well as deny benefits to any unmarried couple.
Nadine's visibility in the fight for marriage equality as an African-American lesbian is a sharp and much needed contrast to another black lesbian activist whose voice is louder but often wrong on crucial issues.
Nadine's approach is subtle but beyond effective, proving that you don't always have to raise your voice to get your point across and by doing so it doesn't make you right. This is truly a gift that few people people have and a gift that she's put to great use in her debates on the proposed amendment.
Nadine Smith: Someone You Should Know
Take a closer look at the strength of Nadine Smith in the videos below.
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