Nadine SmithEquality Florida St. Petersburg, FL Award Year: 2023
Nadine Smith is an award-winning journalist, organizer, and civil rights activist who has been fighting for racial justice and LGBTQ equality for over three decades. As a college student, she was a co-founder of the International Gay and Lesbian Youth Organization and later co-chaired the largest March on Washington for LGBTQ rights. In 1997, she founded Equality Florida, the largest civil rights organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. She has served as Executive Director since its inception. With Equality Florida, she led the charge against the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, fighting its enactment through grassroots organizing, coalition-building, and powerful television and social media ad campaign highlighting the potential racist and anti-LGBTQ impacts in classrooms. Smith’s work serves as an inspiration and blueprint for LGBTQ organizations around the world. She currently serves as Chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights’ Florida Advisory Committee and is a Trustee of the Florida Chamber Foundation. In 2022, she was named to the Time100 annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. She was also named one of the state’s “Most Powerful and Influential Women” by the Florida Diversity Council; received the League of Women Voters’ Woman of Distinction Award, and was named one of the 100 Most Influential Floridians by Influence Magazine.