Founded by a group of emerging leaders in 2006, IMPACT is an organization whose purpose is to: (1) enhance knowledge of the political and legislative processes; (2) foster civic engagement, and; (3) enhance economic empowerment opportunities for other emerging leaders, ages 21 to 40. Learn more about IMPACT here. Check out our interview below:
INTERVIEW | GETTING TO KNOW THE MOODIE-MILLS
Danielle & Aisha Moodie-Mills are a dynamic duo living and working in DC to eliminate the social, economic, and health disparities experienced by LGBT people of color.
Aisha Moodie-Mills (above right) is a democratic strategist with over a decade of experience of politics and policy. She is currently an Advisor at the Center for American Progress, where she directs the FIRE Initiative. She also appears regularly as a political commentator on MSNBC and FOX News, among others.
Danielle Moodie-Mills (above left) is an advocacy and government affairs consultant. From the classroom to Capitol Hill, she’s spent her career promoting social justice and actively lobbies for inclusive policies that enhance the lives of all Americans. Her writings are frequently published in The Atlantic, Essence.com, and Huffington Post.
Tell us a little about the work you are doing today, and how you came to this point in your careers?
We are literally living, loving and laboring out loud together in our passions and politics, as our work has become as personal over the last few years as it is political.
We executive produce and co-host a weekly radio show called Politini where we serve politics and pop culture up with a twist!
We also currently serve as Advisors for LGBT Policy & Racial Justice at the Center for American Progress where Aisha runs the Fighting Injustice to Reach Equality (FIRE) policy initiative that we launched together in 2010. FIRE works to eliminate the social, health and economic disparities experience by LGBT people of color, issues we encountered first-hand—and were inspired to tackle—as we successfully campaigned for marriage equality in the District of Columbia.
While our LGBT policy work reflects who we are personally, it is ultimately just an extension of the social justice values that have grounded our careers as far back as we can remember. In fact we both started out working to improve the quality of education for low-income and urban students.
Our work has always been about building equitable and sustainable communities and we actualize this vision each day through our policy, media, and advocacy work.
If you could give one piece of advice to young professionals of color, specifically those in the LGBT community, what would it be and why?
Be Visible, Be Fabulous.
We have done a lot of great policy work over the years that we hope has helped to enhance the lives of those who seldom have a place at the table. But our greatest impact has been in just simply being visible—and living, loving and laboring openly and authentically—as a lesbian couple.
The power of visibility really sunk in for us when Essence magazine profiled our wedding as their first ever lesbian wedding. By telling our story, we challenged stereotypes, demystified what it means to be black and gay, and touched the hearts and minds of more people than we could have ever reached through months of advocacy work.
But we have found that we are most successful, both professionally and personally when we lead from a place of authenticity, and allow our full selves to shine bright.
Our message to young professionals of all persuasions is to be bold and authentic as you move through the world, be a positive model, and inspire. Shine, not just to be seen, shine so others can see the way.
What inspires you to be your best selves in both your personal and professional lives?
We want to use our work and our lives as a lesson to people that hard work and perseverance do pay off. Each day presents a clean slate and an opportunity to start over—so rather than be weighted down with regret and the “woulda, coulda, shoulda’s” of life, we choose to control what we can and leave the rest up to Universe. Too often, black and brown people are viewed as the “have-nots”, and think of themselves through a deficit lens. We think that it’s important to put as much positive energy out into the world in the hopes that others can glean a little bit of that energy rather than be discouraged by the stereotypes of LGBT people, particularly those of color, that persist.
Breaking down barriers and living in the spirit of the present is what keeps us going, and we hope inspires others to the same. In the words of our late friend David Baldwin Barnes, you should aspire to be exceptional and shoot for a life that is nothing less than outstanding!
What is your latest venture? What should we know about your most recent work?
This year we launched a radio show, Politini, which serves politics and pop culture up with a twist!. Each week on the show we turn a critical eye on current events and ask “for better or for worse, is this the new normal?”
Our society is changing rapidly and our common humanity often gets lost among the banter. Politini provides a fun forum to dish about the happenings of the week and to discuss how current social and political debates permeate our social consciousness and shape the way that we view ourselves, each other, and the world. Think Melissa Harris-Perry meets E! News.
We also continue to pen our lifestyle blog, Living, Loving & Laboring OUT Loud, or threeLOL.
How can young professionals of color connect with you?
Tweet us @threeLOL.
Listen to us on Politini ever Thursday from 8-9pm EST.
Subscribe to our Politini podcast.
Read our blog www.threeLOL.com