Engaging Diversity Plenary | Thursday, June 4, 2020 | 7:00 – 8:00 PM

Mandy Carter


Mandy Carter is a southern African American lesbian social justice activist with a 53-year movement history of social, racial and LGBTQIA+ justice organizing since 1967. 

Raised in two orphanages and a foster home for her first 18 years as a ward of the state of New York, Ms. Carter attributes the influences of the Quaker-based American Friends Service Committee, the former Institute for the Study of Nonviolence, and the pacifist-based War Resisters League for her sustained multi-racial and multi-issue organizing.

It was specifically her participation in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. inspired 1968 Poor People’s Campaign organized by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)  that solidified her sustained commitment to nonviolence. The Poor People’s Campaign was the last project Dr. King was working on before his assassination in Memphis, TN on April 4, 1968.  She participated in the 2018 Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival to mark its 50th anniversary year.

Ms. Carter helped co-found two groundbreaking organizations.  Southerners On New Ground (SONG) and the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC).   SONG, founded in 1993, is about building progressive movement across the South by creating transformative models of organizing that connects race, class, culture, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity. Specifically, SONG integrates work against homophobia into freedom struggles in the South. She served as its Executive Director from 2003-2005. 

NBJC, founded in 2003, is a national civil rights organization dedicated to empowering Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. NBJC’s mission is to end racism and homophobia.  NBJC provides leadership at the intersection of national civil rights organizations and LGBT organizations.

In 2015, representing NBJ C, Ms. Carter helped organize diverse broad-based participation in the 50th Anniversary of the 1965 Selma-To-Montgomery Voting Rights Act activities that moved Congress to pass the 1965 Voting Rights Act that enfranchised hundreds of thousands of blacks across the South. President Obama and the First Family were in attendance.