The city announced today that Amber Hikes will take over as director of the Office of LGBT Affairs.
Hikes takes the helm of the office from Nellie Fitzpatrick, who was asked to step down. Ajeenah Amir, a spokesperson for Mayor Jim Kenney, confirmed Fitzpatrick was no longer employed by the city as of Monday morning.
In an interview with PGN, Fitzpatrick said the administration was hoping to take the office in a more "outward-facing" direction.
Fitzpatrick had been the target of protests the last few months from community members who contended she didn't do enough to combat racism in the LGBT community. She plans to open her own law practice this spring.
Hikes earned her degree in social work from the University of Pennsylvania. She most recently had been serving as the director of Upward Bound, a student-service program at California State Long Beach. She was a board member of William Way LGBT Community Center for four years, until her move to California in 2015, and was also an organizer for Philadelphia Dyke March.
“My diverse experiences in the vibrant Philadelphia LGBTQ community first as a student, then as a professional, then as a business owner and finally as a community leader, afford me the unique opportunities to view LGBTQ community work in this city from multiple vantage points,” Hikes said in a release. “I'm eager to serve my community during this pivotal time by increasing the accessibility of the Office, listening to community members and implementing initiatives to serve LGBTQ Philadelphians more efficiently and effectively.”
According to a statement from the city, Hikes will focus on community organizing and engagement, along with policy work.
“Mayor Kenney and I are committed to serving the needs of Philadelphia’s LGBT community,” said Nolan Atkinson, Chief Diversity Officer for the city, who oversees the Office of LGBT Affairs. “Nellie’s work to institutionalize this office by pushing forward legislation to change the city’s charter helps make this possible, and we appreciate her laying the foundation for the focused community work that Amber will be doing moving forward.”
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