Donna Red Wing
“I know somebody you should interview,” a friend wrote me. “The Christian Coalition once called her ‘the most dangerous woman in America.'”
“Oh, yeah,” I said. “I definitely want to talk to her.” With so many of us embracing political activism for the first time in decades – if not the first time ever — I thought it would be fun to chat with somebody who has been serving in the trenches since she was thirteen.
And it was fun. As a veteran protester who got her start during the Vietnam era, Donna Red Wing has seen it all and has the battle scars and war stories to prove it. I took an instant liking to her, although the fire in her eye warned me that if you crossed her, you would do so at your peril.
Donna grew up lesbian in the hardscrabble world of a housing project in Worcester, Massachusetts. There she developed a passion for justice that has carried her around the country and into a series of progressive causes, first as a teenage volunteer, later in positions including Executive Director of the LGBT organization One Iowa, Chief of Staff at the Interfaith Alliance, and National Field Director for the Human Rights Campaign. She served as one of three members of President Obama’s kitchen cabinet on LGBT concerns and was the first recipient of the Walter Cronkite Faith and Freedom Award.
She was working for Howard Dean’s campaign when the Christian Coalition declared her “the most dangerous woman in America,” much to her delight. “That’s going on my tombstone, I hope you know that,” she told me with a grin. “That’s the best thing they could have done for me.”
What is Donna’s superpower? Why is she so feared by bigots and religious right-wingers?
I’ll let her tell you herself in this very short video showing highlights of our conversation.
This video is Episode 4 of my ongoing series Women of the American Resistance. You can view the complete series here on this website, on YouTube, my blog Enjoy Living Abroad, and American Resistance Sevilla; many episodes appear on Americans Resisting Overseas and other social media sites. Feel free to repost this video or link to this content. My goal is to tell the world about these remarkable American women and the work they're doing to help fix the mess we're in.
Karen McCann is a bestselling author whose travel tips and adventure stories have appeared in Huffington Post, International Living Magazine, New York Daily News, Los Angeles Times, and Lonely Planet. She is a founding member of American Resistance Sevilla.