Femme's & WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH: Deon Haywood
Deon Haywood is a dedicated human rights defender who currently serves as the Executive Director of Women With a Vision. “Women With A Vision, Inc. (WWAV) is a community-based non-profit, founded by a grassroots collective of African-American women in response to the spread of HIV/AIDS in communities of color.” Her commitment to improving the lives of all marginalized people is limitless. Haywood’s intersectional approach to advocacy incorporates HIV/AIDS, LGBTQ rights, reproductive justice, decriminalization, and many more human rights causes.
Haywood works at the grassroots and policy level to bring justice to disenfranchised communities. Under her leadership, Women With a Vision has expanded their advocacy work to encompass sex worker rights, reproductive justice, fair housing, and drug policy reform. Following Hurricane Katrina, Haywood directed the organization’s efforts to address the inequalities of health and socioeconomic status. In 2009, she directed the launch of Women With a Vision’s NO Justice Project. This campaign exposed the discriminatory and archaic “crime against nature” law. Under this law women and trans* people were targeted and arrested for street-based sex work. The NO Justice Project successfully resulted in a federal ruling and removal of over 700 women from the sex offender registry.
The United Nations, AIDS Law Louisiana, TheBody.com, BET.com, and the Forum for Equality have all acknowledged her efforts in advocacy.