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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Affinity names new executive director
2020-06-08

This article shared 2826 times since Mon Jun 8, 2020
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The board of directors at Affinity Community Services ( "Affinity" )— a social-justice organization serving the needs of the Black LGBTQ+ community, with a particular focus on Black women—has announced the appointment of McKensie Mack as its new executive director.

Mack ( who uses the pronouns they/them/theirs ) is currently the managing director at Praxis Group and the founding partner of MMG—both of which are consultancies dedicated to building affirming cultures of repair, healing and accountability.

For almost 15 years, they have been an educator and organizer who has taught in the United States, France, Mexico, Germany, South Africa and Peru on identity, social justice, conflict management and relational repair. As a trilingual, award-winning digital organizer, entrepreneur, anti-oppression educator and researcher, they have worked at the intersections of racial justice, LGBTQ+ rights and gender equity for more than a decade.

Mack was the inaugural executive director of Art+Feminism, a nonprofit organization that tackles gender inequity on Wikipedia. Mack's past work has involved such organizations as the American Library Association, the Wikimedia Foundation, Broadway Youth Center, the Museum of Modern Art ( MoMA ), Joyn, Enrich Chicago and Equity in the Center.

Originally from the South Side of Chicago ( the city's Roseland and Chatham neighborhoods ), they received their bachelors degree from the University of Chicago, in linguistics, and are currently pursuing a masters degree in social anthropology.

In a statement, Mack said, "I am excited to be joining one of the first Black LGBTQ+ organizations in the nation, working for Black LGBTQ+ people and communities on Chicago's South Side as it enters this new phase in the life of its 25-year legacy. In the face of COVID-19 and global protests against systemic racism, this is a pinnacle moment for us all, especially for us in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights for Black people.

"As a Black, queer, non-binary person, I am honored to be leading this organization into the next phase of its evolution. I express gratitude to all those who came before me and laid the groundwork for this organization, this community, and this legacy, including Dr. Chris Smith, Imani Rupert-Gordon, Kim Hunt and countless others who have paved the way for this work to be done."

Affinity's board of directors expressed its gratitude to co-founder Dr. Christina Smith, who returned to Affinity to serve as interim executive director during this transition after Rupert-Gordon departed.


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