“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 on YouTube, this blog, 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.
“The great value of travel is the opportunity it offers you to pry open your hometown blinders and broaden your perspective. And when we implement that world view as citizens of our great nation, we make travel a political act."
7/2/2017 02:33:46 am
Great, Karen! Seems to me being on the edge, speaking out--and even talking to the opposition--is always dangerous. But essential!
7/2/2017 03:10:56 am
So true, Tobey. I once heard a filmmaker on NPR say "Sometimes we have to walk in the direction of our fear." That's true in art and in life. And if anybody knows how to do that, it's Donna.
7/5/2017 11:16:10 pm
Love this story and the looks of this women. If that's dangerous, bring it on! Horray for her! Love, Jackie
7/6/2017 06:11:15 am
I totally agree, Jackie! This world needs more of this kind of dangerous!
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TO I'm an American travel writer based in Seville, Spain.
Wanderlust has taken me to more than 60 countries. Every week I provide travel tips and adventure stories to inspire your journeys and let you have more fun — and better food — on the road
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