National Black Lesbian Conference 2003
April 11-13, 2003 -- Los Angeles


Older Black Lesbians
Speak Out
ZUNA NBLC April 11th - 13th 2003

Brenda Crawford  FemmeNoir Events Contact Coffee Klatch Village

Brenda Crawford
Mandy Carter
Christine Tripp JD
Vallerie Wagner
Kecia Cunningham
Denise Simmons
Sabrina Sojourner
June Jordan
Linda Bellos
Barbara Smith
Alicia Banks
Angela Davis
Hon. Deborah Batts
Jacqueline Anderson
Mary Morten
Nadine Smith
Renae Ogletree
Ruth Waters
Vernita Gray

Brenda Crawford

Brenda Crawford is Executive Director of  Progressive Research and Training for Action (PRTA) founded in Oakland, California, in 1990, as the nonprofit Pacific Research and Training Alliance.   Brenda has over twenty-five years of executive administrative experience in community based nonprofit organization. She has worked in a wide variety of human services organization such as the Berkeley YWCA, West Oakland Health Center Substance Abuse Treatment Services and the Contra County Sexual Assault & Child Sexual Abuse Treatment Center. In her more than twenty-five years of executive experience she has managed large complex budgets, supervised a staff of fifty. She has had the ability to develop a team spirit and goal oriented directions with all the staff in the agencies, which she has worked, She is a skilled negotiator and consensus builder at all organizational levels. For the last nine years she has own an operated Crawford & Associates a Management Consultant Firm that specializes in nonprofit management issues. She works with approximately fifty agencies per year. Brenda has a recognized and proven body of work both locally as well as nationally.

Brenda has an extensive volunteer history she has served as a volunteer with the following agencies and groups:

  • Founding Board member of AMASSI INC - 1990-Present
  • Concerned Neighbors of Outlook Ave 1996-Present
  • East Bay Lesbian & Gay Democratic Club-President 1996-Present
  • Black Women’s Network 1997-1998
  • The National Lesbian & Gay Victory Fund-1996-1998
  • The East Bay Black Lesbian & Gay Business Coalition 1998-Present
  • The National Black Lesbian & Gay Leadership Forum-Board Chair- 1996-Present
  • Port of Oakland Project Labor Agreement Community Task Force 1999-present
  • East Bay Church of Religious Science, Board of Trustee 1994-1997

Brenda has an equally extensive political history.  She has worked with:

  • City Council member John Russo to get the city to pass Domestic Partner Insurance for all City of Oakland Employee
  • Council Member Russo to get Domestic Partner registration for citizens in the city of Oakland
  • Council Member Nate Miley and the Traffic control division in the City of Oakland to put in speed bumps on Outlook Ave and to prohibit cars from turning into Outlook Ave. from Seminary Road.
  • A statewide coalition to defeat Proposition 21 & 22-1999
  • Member of the City of Oakland LGBT Leadership Roundtable 2001-present
  • Commissioner- City of Oakland Commission on Aging-2001-Present
  • Organized and facilitated community meeting of the Concerned Neighbors of Outlook Ave to discuss issues of traffic control, blighted properties, Crime prevention, weed and clean up control on vacant school property


  • Outstanding Women of the Year in Community Service-Alameda County Women’s Hall of Fame-1999
  • Congressional Certificate of Recognition- For Outstanding Work in the Gay And lesbian Civil Rights Movement- Congresswoman Barbara Lee-1999
  • East Bay Pride Assemblywoman Carole Migden’s Award for Political Activism- 1998
  • Commendation from the Alameda County Board of Supervisors for Community Service-1999
  • California Legislature Assembly Certificate of Recognition for Front line work in the Fight against Substance Abuse-1995
  • The National Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund Award For Political Activism for working Nationally to elect more openly Gay & Lesbian Public Officials- 1997
  • Certificate of Appreciation from United State Senate- Senator Barbara Boxer in Recognition of Outstanding Community Service-1999
  • Marlon Riggs Community Leadership Award, Oakland Black Pride-2000
  • National Black Alcoholism Council, California Chapter- Certificate of Recognition for Work toward decreasing Alcoholism and Substance Abuse In the African American Community,

Women In The Life

We asked several Sheroes (prominent black lesbian activists) the following question:

"It’s the year 2000! What do you see as the most important issue facing the black lgbt community in the new century? And if possible, how would you address this issue?"

As you might expect the responses we received were perceptive and thought-provoking. We hope the answers will begin a dialogue that addresses these concerns and ultimately, serves as a catalyst for change!



Thank you for allowing me to participate in this most important issue.

There are several critical issues facing the black lgbt community in the year 2000. The continuing alarming rise of AIDS/HIV among black gay and bisexual men. The increase of the incidence of breast cancer among black lesbians. So our overall state of health is problematic. We need to continue to work to insure that we receive adequate funding to support services that are designed to address these issues. I believe that a national study needs to be conducted on health issues affecting black lesbians. Such a study has never occurred to my knowledge, so it is difficult to determine how many of us are impacted by breast & cervical cancer. I am interested in convening a group of black lesbian health care providers and other interested parties nationally to approach The Center for Disease Control or the National Office of Minority Health to commission such a study.

Another issue that I think we as a community will have to deal with in the new millennium is one of developing political clout and visibility. We need to become much more visible and vocal in both the national and local political arena. We need more openly LGBT black people to run for public office. Get appointed to boards and commissions. “Step Up and Step Out,” Be Loud Proud and Black, as we go into the new era. Demand to be at the table when the national agenda is set for the black community. We need no longer to let our old established organizations like the NAACP, Urban League or the National Council of Negro Women ignore us. Let us approach them out of a place of love but also determination, and let them know that we are in the churches, the schools, and everywhere. We are a vibrant and vital part of the black community, and we want to be included in all discussion regarding the communities that we live in.

Finally, I think that we need to concentrate on developing a national spiritual base for our movement. Let’s involve our church leaders in all public policy discussions that impact the quality of our lives. It is my experience that all activities that are spiritually centered have a much better chance of being successful. I am tired of the religious right misdefining who I am. I think we know who we are as a community, and what our values and beliefs are. To let people who preach intolerance and dissent voices be louder than those of us who preach love and inclusion seems out of balance. I think it is our national responsibility to uplift and support the voices that realize the universe loves and supports us all, that we are all special and unique and have gifts to share.

-- Brenda Crawford



Best of East Bay


BRENDA CRAWFORD devotes much of her time to the African-American lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. Currently president of the board of directors of the East Bay Lesbian & Gay Democratic Club, she hopes to someday run for Oakland City Council


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