By Darla Shelden, City Sentinel Senior Reporter
Founded in 2015, Freedom Oklahoma is a statewide political advocacy organization that focuses on equity for LGBTQ2S+ people in Oklahoma.
Last April, the organization announced that former Freedom Oklahoma Executive Director Allie Shinn would be stepping down from leading the organization at the end of May.
“The Freedom Oklahoma Board of Directors are incredibly excited to welcome Nicole McAfee as our new Executive Director,” said Board Co-Chairs Lindsey Kanaly and Larry Cassil.
“Nicole brings a wealth of knowledge, compassion, and persistence to ensuring that LGBTQ2S+ Oklahomans have true lived equality in our state,” Kanaly and Cassil said. “We have grown immensely as an organization in the past few years and are eager to see Nicole lead us to new heights.”
Before joining Freedom Oklahoma, McAfee held the position of manager for the Campaign for Smart Justice at ACLU of Oklahoma, before becoming the organization’s first Director of Policy and Advocacy. Nicole served as a leader on issues related to criminal legal reform, LGBTQ2S+ equality, and voting rights.
McAfee graduated with an undergrad degree from Texas A&M University in International Studies and French, before deciding to focus on local advocacy and the mission of protecting rights and liberties.
Nicole worked on several political campaigns, while traveling across the country engaging in voter education and turnout efforts, before ultimately deciding to call Oklahoma City home in 2015.
McAfee becomes the organization’s third Executive Director, joining a team of dedicated staff and volunteer board members.
“I have been fortunate enough to work alongside Freedom Oklahoma in my advocacy for the last several years. It’s an organization where I have been given space and opportunity to show up as my whole self, and it’s the honor of a lifetime to join this team to serve Oklahoma’s LGBTQ2S+ community in this capacity,” said McAfee.
“The work I have done for the last four years is a frequent reminder that when we center liberation for the most marginalized and historically excluded LGBTQ2S+ Oklahomans, we all become more free,” Nicole added.
“I am moved by the legacy of this organization and the dedication of the staff and board. Freedom Oklahoma does life-saving work, and I am ready to dig in.”
McAfee serves on the Oklahoma Museum of Art Moderns board, is a member of the Oklahoma County Detention Center Action Committee, and regularly volunteers with local issue-based and electoral campaigns.
McAfee began as Freedom Oklahoma’s Executive Director on August 23.
Over the last two years, Freedom Oklahoma’s work has expanded beyond state legislative advocacy to include gender marker legal clinics, General Services Administration (GSA) organizing and support, and municipal work.
For more information, visit freedomoklahoma.org.