Metro Weekly

Victoria Kirby York and Kia Darling-Hammond join NBJC

"I am excited about the passion, talents, and treasures that both will bring to the legacy of NBJC," said executive director David Johns.

Victoria Kirby-York
Victoria Kirby York – Courtesy NBJC

The National Black Justice Coalition has hired two new senior-level staffers, Victoria Kirby York and Dr. Kia Darling-Hammond, to help further the organization’s mission of empowering individuals who live at the intersection of being queer and Black.

Both new hires will assist NBJC in carrying out its mission, which includes fighting against racism, transphobia, homophobia, and biphobia, and seeking to educate people on, and end stigma around, what it means to live with HIV.

Kirby York, who will serve as NBJC’s deputy executive director, previously worked in leadership roles at the National LGBTQ Task Force, in gubernatorial and presidential campaigns in Florida, youth education nonprofits, and the private sector. In her new role, she will manage NBJC’s operational policies, strengthen its grassroots engagement effort, and lead programmatic staff.

Kirby York currently serves as a board member for the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center Foundation and previously served as a board member for the Center for Black Equity, the Next Generation Leadership Foundation, the Human Rights Campaign’s Diversity & Inclusion Council, and NBJC’s Leadership Advisory Council. She was the first openly gay member of Howard University’s Board of Trustees.

“As our nation grapples with police accountability, racial inequity, and a patchwork of civil rights laws that leave us behind, NBJC feels especially called to this moment. I am honored and humbled to be able to serve our people, support our staff and [Executive Director] David Johns’ phenomenal leadership,” Kirby York said in a statement.

“With an epidemic of Black transgender women being murdered, over-incarceration of our people in women’s prisons, and over-representation of our youth in suicide and homelessness statistics driven by practices not rooted in love or Christ; now, more than ever, the Black LGBTQ/same-gender-loving community needs to be at the legislative drafting and decision-making table in both Black and LGBTQ civil rights movement spaces all across this country. I look forward to engaging our community and its leaders to ensure we are shaping the agendas and policies that impact us most.”

Darling-Hammond will serve as NBJC’s director of research and educational programs and will lead the organization’s efforts to ensure that policy, practice, and the space in between account for and reflect the diverse experiences of, and unique contributions made by, Black trans, queer, and non-binary people, both in and out of schools. 

Darling-Hammond previously worked with a range of organizations, ranging from the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus Suicide Prevention Taskforce to educational institutes and nonprofits, including Bank Street College of Education, Stanford Schools Corporation, Lean In, and NEO Philanthropy. She also developed an intersectional “Bridge to Thriving Framework” for activists, scholars, youth, and others that is aimed at building more attentive, inclusive, and responsive environments where LGBTQ/SGL individuals can fully thrive.

See also: NBJC’s David Johns on race, justice, and the importance of replacing Trump

“In the work of advancing equity and justice, our communities are too-often overlooked, even as they spearhead the most revolutionary efforts, shape culture, and innovate around making a way out of no way,” Darling-Hammond said in a statement. “I am excited to join NBJC’s brilliant team in highlighting our folk across ages and geographies while advancing an agenda to raise awareness, increase capacity, advance policy and research, and expand thriving possibilities.”

NBJC Executive Director David Johns praised the accomplishments of his two latest hires and called them assets to the organization.

“I am excited about the passion, talents, and treasures that both Victoria Kirby York and Dr. Kia Darling-Hammond will bring to the work and the legacy of NBJC,” Johns said. “Victoria and Kia are established leaders who have demonstrated both a love for and commitment to improving life outcomes and opportunities for Black trans, queer, and non-binary people. The communities that we serve and the country that we work to strengthen will benefit as a result of their efforts.”

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