Freedom Oklahoma announces new executive director

Nicole McAfee will serve as the next Executive Director of Freedom Oklahoma. FB photo.

OKLAHOMA CITY – In April, Freedom Oklahoma announced that former Executive Director Allie Shinn would be stepping down from leading the organization at the end of May.  

After a robust search, today, Freedom Oklahoma is excited to announce a new era in leadership. Nicole McAfee has joined the team as the next Executive Director. 

“The Freedom Oklahoma Board of Directors are incredibly excited to welcome Nicole McAfee as our new Executive Director. They bring with them a wealth of knowledge, compassion, and persistence to ensuring that LGBTQ2S+ Oklahomans have true lived equality in our state,” said Board Co-Chairs Lindsey Kanaly and Larry Cassil. “We have grown immensely as an organization in the past few years and are eager to see Nicole lead us to new heights.”

McAfee comes to Freedom Oklahoma from the ACLU of Oklahoma, where they managed the Campaign for Smart Justice before becoming the organization’s first Director of Policy and Advocacy. They quickly established themself 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 they wanted to focus their advocacy and their work more locally, with a focus on protecting rights and liberties. That work took them to political campaigns, where they traveled across the country engaging in voter education and turnout efforts, before ultimately deciding to call Oklahoma City home in 2015. 

Freedom Oklahoma, founded in 2015, is a statewide political advocacy organization that centers equity for LGBTQ2S+ people in Oklahoma. Over the last two years, that work has expanded beyond state legislative advocacy to include gender marker legal clinics, GSA organizing and support, and municipal work. 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 Nicole 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 get more free. 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. In their free time, McAfee enjoys spending time at Elemental Coffee, and at home with their partner, Andrew, and two cats, Sabrina and Annapurrna. McAfee began their first day as Freedom Oklahoma Executive Director on August 23rd.

Pronouns: Lindsey Kanaly, she/her(s), Larry Cassil, he/him/his, Nicole McAfee, she/they.

The Gayly. 8/24/2021 @ 9:11 a.m. CST.