2019 WAVE Award Spotlight: Nadine Smith

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Tampa Bay’s Favorite Local Activist, Favorite Charitable Event (Equality Florida’s St. Pete Gala)

As the executive director of Equality Florida, the state’s largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for all LGBTQ Floridians, Nadine Smith is no stranger to activism.

In addition to her work with the organization, she was one of the four national co-chairs of the 1993 March on Washington and made history by taking part in the first Oval Office meeting between a sitting president and LGBTQ community leaders. Smith also served on the founding board of the International Gay and Lesbian Youth Organization and serves as chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Florida Advisory Committee. Under her leadership, while fighting on many fronts, Equality Florida’s commitment to the community it serves has recently allowed it to expand its Safe & Healthy Schools Project. It has worked with over 60 school districts to deliver LGBTQ+ sensitivity trainings to over 6,500 education professionals, meeting with over 20 superintendents throughout the state to expand its reach.

Smith says the organization has also secured “more bipartisan legislative support than ever for our statewide nondiscrimination bill that would ban discrimination in housing, public accommodations and employment statewide.”

“I’ve seen how dramatically Florida has changed for the better over the past 20 years and I’ve seen the dangers of being complacent and forgetting how hard fought our victories have been,” Smith says. It’s what motivates her to continue the fight. “I want to protect what we’ve gained and ensure our work brings equity not just equality.”

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