PRESS RELEASE: Black & Pink National Thanks Dominique Morgan and Welcomes Tena Hahn-Rodriguez
OMAHA, Neb. — On June 1st, Dominique Morgan stepped down from Black & Pink National after serving as Executive Director since January 2018. Over the last nearly five years, she has raised our organization’s profile to new heights with novel programming and shifting the national narrative. Some of Black & Pink National’s feats during Dominique’s tenure include the 2020 opening of Lydon House to model a housing-first approach to interrupt criminalization, establishing the Kuwasi Balagoon Awards for people living with HIV/AIDS, distributing pandemic response aid to members on the inside, securing funding for the Sex Worker Liberation Project, freeing hundreds of people in Omaha and Atlanta through the bail program, launching the new Protected and Served community survey with Lambda Legal, creating plans for the youth-centered Opportunity Campus, and much more. Dominique will be shifting her efforts to serving as Executive Director of The Okra Project.
“How do you summarize some of the most powerful years of your life?” asks Dominique, in her parting words. “I think the ‘goodbye’ I’ve been working on since February escapes me because of that question. So let me not summarize but be as honest as I can be. Through my time at Black & Pink National, I’ve found the most complete and most self loving, affirming and happy version of myself. I met friends that have changed me to my core and I’ve realized parts of my potential that I only dreamed of. Serving our members has been a gift – Battling this system toe-to-toe daily, I healed so much of my own pain from those walls as well. I leave Black & Pink National with the knowledge that we’ve done work and built change that will last a lifetime. I say that knowing – You haven’t seen the best from me yet. Thank you to the Black & Pink National staff, Board of Directors, our Inside Family (Patricia, girl, shout out to you specifically), our Lydon House members, Chapters, our funders, and Jason Lydon, our founder, who believed in me and trusted me in transformative ways. To Tena – May you shake every table and break every chain, sis. I’m rooting for you from the depths of my soul. I love you all.”
We want to send all of our well wishes to Dominique as we bid her farewell from her four-and-a-half year tenure as Black & Pink National’s Executive Director. Dominique has radically shifted the work of our organization, bringing further awareness and power to our programming and communities. Without Dominique, Black & Pink National would certainly not be who we are today, and we are grateful for everything she has poured into our organization and our members.
Dominique’s recognition on a national and international stage has given so many of our incarcerated members hope, hope that they too can thrive in life post-incarceration, and this hope lives on as Dominique continues to build pathways for other women like her. We cannot wait to see everything she will go on to build and accomplish in service of creating a more just and liberated world.
Thank you, Dominique, for all that you have given to Black & Pink National over these past years and for all the ways you have cared for our members. Thank you for the love and labor you have poured into our organization and for your fierce commitment to our people. We are so grateful for your service and leadership. Congratulations & Farewell <3
Tena Hahn-Rodriguez will serve as Interim Executive Director beginning immediately for day-to-day management needs. “I step into this work humbly, ready to learn from our staff, Board, and members,” Tena said. Tena (she/her) joined Black & Pink National in April as the Deputy Director of Youth Services and is a community organizer, educator, and entrepreneur. Prior to Black & Pink National, Tena served as a founding member of REVEL, a cornerstone of the Omaha LGBTQIA2S+ inclusive-space scene. With Heartland Pride, she created space for Omaha to invite in national talent. Most recently, Tena’s work with Inclusive Communities led to more accessible educational programming. Always looking to expand her skillset, Tena recently completed the American Express Converge Academy and is in the current cohort of the Nonprofit Executive Institute. Tena brings a wealth of social justice experience to Black & Pink National and is excited to bring her passion for trans and queer youth of color to expand services for system-impacted youth on a national level.
Please join us in welcoming our Interim Executive Director, Tena Hahn-Rodriguez! Tena will provide day-to-day leadership as Interim Executive Director while the board searches for the next long-term Executive Director. Tena joined Black & Pink National earlier this year as Deputy Director of Youth Services and will also continue to lead the building out of Opportunity Campus. We’re excited and grateful for Tena’s fresh eyes, nonprofit and youth work experience, and interpersonal communication strengths.
Tena (she/her) is a community organizer, educator, and entrepreneur. North Omaha is her home and the people her community. Prior to Black & Pink National, Tena served as a founding member of REVEL, a cornerstone of the Omaha LGBTQIA2S+ inclusive-space scene. With Heartland Pride, she created space for Omaha to invite in national talent. Most recently, Tena’s work with Inclusive Communities led to more accessible educational programming. Always looking to expand her skillset, Tena recently completed the American Express Converge Academy and is in the current Nonprofit Executive Institute. Tena brings a wealth of justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion experience to Black & Pink National. She is excited to bring her passion for trans and queer youth of color to this role, and expand services for system-impacted youth on a national level. “I step into this work humbly, ready to learn from our staff, board, and members,” says Tena. “My hope is to hold space for the transformational work we need to do as an organization in order to practice our abolitionist values everyday in our work.”
The Board of Directors has been supporting Tena and team over the past several months to prepare for this handoff, will engage in a formal search process for the next long-term Executive Director, and will continue to partner closely throughout the transition. “I am grateful to collaborate with such passionate and experienced leaders, staff, and other Board members to strengthen our unique organization in this next part of our journey, as Black & Pink National and Chapters continue our vital abolitionist mission. I’ll miss Dominique and am glad she’ll be making an impact in other spaces, and Tena has already demonstrated fantastic skills and astute understanding of our organization’s needs. I can’t wait to see and support the strides we’ll make together in solidarity with our currently and formerly incarcerated members,” said Tanya Nguyen, Board Chair.
We are excited for the future of our organization and thankful to all our supporters who share our goal of a world without prisons, where LGBTQIA2S+ people and people living with HIV/AIDS can thrive.