One Iowa announces death of former leader
DES MOINES, Iowa (CBS2/FOX28) —
Below is a statement from One Iowa on the passing of former Executive Director, Donna Red Wing.
Donna Red Wing passed away on Monday, April 16 after a courageous battle with lung cancer. Red Wing served as executive director of One Iowa from 2012-2016, expanding the organization’s work into new arenas after the battle for marriage equality ended.
“Donna was a force to be reckoned with and will be greatly missed by individuals across the country. She called herself an activist and an agitator and prided herself in being called the most dangerous woman by the Christian Co alition at one point.” One Iowa Executive Director Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel said. “Donna inspired so many including myself. I was lucky enough to get to know her when she first came to Iowa and co-founded One Iowa’s LGBTQ Healthand Wellness Conference. I wouldn’t be where I am today without Donna’s support and mentorship."
Red Wing was a national leader in the fight for LGBTQ equality, dedicating over three decades of her life to advocating for the LGBTQ community. She was once called “the most dangerous woman in America” by anti-LGBTQ activists due to her charismatic and civil approach to activism, a title she wore with great pride. In addition to leading One Iowa for four years, she launched an LGBT Advisory Council while serving as a Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Commissioner and briefly served as director of the Eychaner Foundation during her time in Iowa.
Prior to moving to Iowa, Red Wing served as Executive Director of Grassroots Leadership and Chief of Staff at Interfaith Alliance in Washington D.C. She was co-chair of the Obama for America 2008 LGBT Leadership Council and Howard Dean’s outreach liaison to the LGBT community. Red Wing also held leadership positions at the Gill Foundation, Human Rights Campaign and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. While directing the Lesbian Community Project in Oregon, she was featured in a Sundance Award-winning film about the 1992 struggle against the anti-LGBT Ballot Measure 9.
Red Wing was the first recipient of the Walter Cronkite Award for Faith & Freedom. The Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Commission recently named their annual Lifetime Achievement award after Red Wing in recognition of her decades of activism.
“Donna’s passion and dedication to serving the LGBTQ community was unparalleled, and I am honored to have known and worked with her,” One Iowa Board Emeritus Sharon Malheiro said. “Our community has lost a fierce advocate, and many of us have lost an incredible friend, mentor, and inspiration. My heart is with Sumitra and the rest of Donna’s family.”
A celebration of Red Wing’s life will be held at a later date.