DES MOINES — LGBTQ rights group One Iowa announced Monday evening that former executive director Donna Red Wing had passed away. Red Wing had been fighting lung cancer.
“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 Coalition at one point.” One Iowa Executive Director Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel said in a statement.
Red Wing had been One Iowa’s exec director from 2012-2016, at the climax of the national marriage equality fight.
Along with leading One Iowa, 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.
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 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.
“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 in a statement. “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.”