Nadine Smith has been executive director of Equality Florida since its inception in 1997, and was executive director of its predecessor, the Human Rights Task Force of Florida. She joined the organization in 1993 after serving as one of four national co-chairs on the 1993 March on Washington as well as taking part in the historic, first- ever meeting between LGBT leaders and a sitting U.S. president (Clinton) in the White House.
During her tenure as head of Equality Florida, she served four terms as co-chair of the Equality Federation and also served as a member of the Democratic National Committee. She has led advocacy efforts in Florida at the state level at a time of unprecedented attacks on the LGBT community by serving as Equality Florida's lead lobbyist in Tallahassee, heading efforts to stop discriminatory legislation and ballot measures to overturn Florida's ban on adoption by gay and lesbian parents.
Her deep experience in community organizing, social change and politics includes her service as campaign manager for Citizens for a Fair Tampa, a successful effort to prevent the repeal of that city's human rights ordinance in 1995, and her own campaign in 1991 for Tampa City Council. In the latter, her first bid for public office, she emerged from a field of seven as the leading vote getter in the primary, losing narrowly in the runoff.
Nadine has been recognized for her national and state leadership by organizations around the nation, including the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the Human Rights Campaign, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the National Black Lesbian and Gay Leadership Forum and others. A former award-winning journalist, Nadine has written syndicated columns for various LGBT and general audience publications.
Nadine currently serves on the board of Fairness for All Families, a coalition of more than 200 local, state and national organizations dedicated to defeating the so-called "Florida Marriage Protection" amendment that would ban benefits for unmarried Floridians, gay and straight.
She is also a contributor to the Bilerico Project.
[Editor's note:] This post is part of a series celebrating Black History Month and the Black LGBT experience. The information in this profile was gathered by the National Black Justice Coalition.