Women's Activism NYC

Raquel Willis

1992 - Today

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Raquel Willis is a Black queer transgender activist, writer and speaker dedicated to inspiring and elevating marginalized individuals, particularly transgender women of color. She is a National Organizer for Transgender Law Center, the largest organization in the U.S. advocating on behalf of transgender and gender nonconforming people. In 2018, she was named a Open Society Foundations Soros Equality Fellow and a Jack Jones Literary Arts Sylvia Rivera Fellow. She's also a part of Echoing Ida, a national Black women and non-binary writers' collective. Raquel began her career as a news reporter in Monroe, GA. She worked on behalf of the Solutions Not Punishments Coalition to end police profiling of transgender women of color and mass incarceration. She worked with others on a campaign to implement a pre-arrest diversion program in Atlanta. She also successfully led the Atlanta Trans Liberation Tuesday mobilization effort in conjunction with the larger Black Lives Matter network. Her dedication to trans advocacy opened the door to her current work at TLC in Oakland, CA. Her writing has been featured on Autostraddle, Buzzfeed, Medium’s Cuepoint, ForHarriet, HuffPost, PRIDE, Quartz, The Root and VICE. Her overarching goal is to use her voice and talents to inspire and uplift marginalized individuals, particularly trans women of color. She says, ““The future is gender variant…What is more revolutionary than somebody who says, f- your gender norms, f- what you assign me at birth, this is how I’m going to live most comfortably, this is how I’m going to live in my truest power?” In January 2017, she was a speaker at the National Women’s March in Washington, D.C. and discussed the necessary inclusion of women and people on the margins in social justice movements. She was also named to ESSENCE's Woke 100 Women, which honored "the women who are blazing trails for equal rights and inclusion for Black people in America" and The Root 100, an annual list of the most influential African Americans, ages 25 to 45.

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