PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Earlier this week, the Kenney administration announced that the executive director of Philadelphia’s Office of LGBT Affairs has resigned.
When Amber Hikes stepped into the role it was March of 2017 and the been reeling from the aftermath of protests and complaints about racism at Gayborhood nightclubs
“I knew that it was going to be a heavy lift and I knew that the work was going to be part policy — part community engagement,” she tells KYW Newsradio.
As an openly queer woman of color, Hikes triaged the situation by holding community town halls and conversations about intersectionality in the LGBTQ community. Hikes then launched the LGBT State of the Union, working with leaders across the spectrum shaping policy by first working with those closest to its impact.
“Too often folks in government are not listening to what people need,” she said.
The University of Pennsylvania educated social worker focused in on inclusion. She added a black and brown strip to the Pride flag, updated the Philadelphia Transgender Police policy and created a LGBTQ leadership pipeline.
“This community is in a very different place now than they were two years ago, and that is going to require a different vision moving forward,” she said.
Mayor Jim Kenney called Hikes “a fearless advocate and public servant,” and accepted her resignation with mixed emotions. The city is currently seeking her replacement, as Hikes works through the end of the month.