Donna R. Payne is Associate Director of Diversity, Human Rights Campaign (HRC).
This year she celebrates 10 years of service working for the organization. Payne, originally from Memphis, Tenn. works closely with a number of civil rights organizations and leaders across the country to increase visibility of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community within religious and people of color communities.
HRC is the largest national lesbian and gay political organization, with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that lesbian and gay Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.
HRC's diversity work has expanded since Payne started with the organization. In 2001, she was the LGBT representative for HRC at the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights at the World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa. Payne helps to lead HRC's diversity work by coordinating its role in "Gospel & Soul" events and its participation in Black & Hispanic pride events in major cities nationwide. Known as a devoted HRC speaker in the LGBT community, Payne has also written articles on being an LGBT civil rights African-American lesbian.
Payne graduated from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 1986 with a degree in Political Science and has served the political community by working with the Young Democrats in Washington, DC, the Political Congress of Black Women, and on Congressional campaigns in the South. She volunteered with the Clinton administration during its national health care reform efforts at the White House.
She is also Vice President of the Board of Directors and a founding member of the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC). She was also a past board member of Zuna Institute, a black lesbian advocacy organization. Payne has been a member of the Metropolitan Community Church of Washington, DC since 1989 and has served on the Board of Directors for three years.