Nakisha M. Lewis is the Director of Civil, Human and Women's Rights at the AFL-CIO. She is an experienced philanthropic and political impact strategist with deep roots in community organizing. She comes to the Labor Movement after more than twenty years organizing for racial justice, women’s rights and LGBTQ equality at the local and national levels. Prior to joining the AFL-CIO, Nakisha spent ten years in philanthropy working with individual donors and foundations to develop grantmaking strategies that address inequities and strengthen marginalized communities. Most recently, she served as Program Officer and Senior Strategist for Safety at the Ms. Foundation for Women where she created a national portfolio for women and girls with a Black, queer, feminist lens. Her work on women’s rights also includes the co-founding of the #SheWoke Committee—the catalyst for the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls; established in 2016 and the co-convening of “Power Rising” – a national conference to build an agenda for Black women and girls.
Nakisha’s career and community engagement are driven by an unwavering passion for civil rights and justice. She is a longtime advocate and activist who has spent more than two decades supporting youth and grassroots organizing across movements. She has worked on a range of justice issues—from education and fair housing to welfare and workers rights. She is a writer, speaker and lifelong community organizer who has worked on national campaigns like “Why We Can’t Wait and “Black Lives Matter.” She helped to organize the “Black Life Matters Freedom Ride” to Ferguson, MO in September of 2014 and is co-creator of the Philanthropic Action for Racial Justice—an effort to organize philanthropic practitioners around a shared vision for racial justice and investment in Black communities that centers the needs and experiences of Black women, youth and LGBTQ people.
Nakisha has served on the boards of Resource Generation, Project Hip Hop, New York Blacks In Philanthropy and Emerging Practitioners In Philanthropy. She is a transformational leadership coach and is committed to developing opportunities for increased diversity and inclusion in the nonprofit sector by advancing the next generation of social change leadership. She is published in several periodicals and nonprofit journals, including the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Huffington Post and NBC News. She also makes regular media appearances on outlets like CNN, Mic. News, NPR. Huffington Post Live and Essence Live.
Nakisha lives and works in Washington, DC.