Hello everyone! My name is Joanna Cifredo, I am the new Racial & Economic Justice Policy Analyst at NCTE. I am a writer, transgender advocate, and unapologetic Trans Latina. Until now most of my policy experience has been on the local level. My previous experience includes working for the Florida Department of Health providing case management services, working with DC Latin@ immigrant trans communities on local access to healthcare, IDs, and other essential services, and working to promote a culture of consent with the DC Rape Crisis Center.
Currently I sit on the Board of Directors of Whitman Walker Health and serve as an advisor to the Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs. I volunteer at La Clínica del Pueblo’s Empodérate Youth Center, where I assist a group of amazing Trans Latina Leaders to access resources and navigate government processes. In the past I’ve worked to change and implement DC’s healthcare policy pertaining to transition related healthcare and have worked to enforce some of DC’s non-discrimination and name change policies.
My first two weeks on the job were a whirlwind! On my way to the office—on my first day—I received a call from Mara asking me if I was prepared to head over to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) for a three hour meeting, where we reviewed a trans cultural competency training video to help all officers treat transgender detainees with respect.
I’m still getting use to all the acronyms. The first lesson I’ve learned is there is a ton of acronyms on the federal level; every government agency is known by an acronym, within each agency there are several different offices that also go by acronyms. The different congressional caucuses, allied organizations, and federal laws we work with all go by acronyms. I predict that by this time next year I will have shortened my name from Joanna Maria Cifredo to just JMC.
The rest of the week was just as eventful. I had the privilege of speaking during an event at the White House to commemorate World AIDS Day and discuss the innovative ways healthcare centers are combating HIV in the trans community. On Thursday I joined advocates from across the country in lobbying members of Congress for sentencing reform. I also attended meetings with the Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office to discuss recommendations for strengthening police accountabilities with respect to LGBT communities, then later in the day headed over to the FBI to train officers on trans cultural competency.
I can’t begin to express how excited I am to join NCTE and continue the work of advocating for immigrant communities, communities of color, and low-income transgender people on a much larger scale. I realize that I’ve been granted an enormous opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of trans people across the country and take this responsibility seriously and with gratitude. I look forward to hearing from and working with leaders on the ground to better inform efforts on the national level.