Elle Hearns is the executive director of the Marsha P. Johnson Institute, which aims to create social justice initiative, policy and programming for Black trans women. She made history when she led the design of the first-ever Movement for Black Lives Convening, held in Cleveland, Ohio, and later when she played a pivotal role in the creation of the official Black Lives Matter network the organization that formed after the founding of the popular hashtag. In 2014, she co-founded the Black Trans Lives Matter movement. She is also a fearless spokesperson. Elle’s writing has been featured in TruthOut, Huffington Post, and Ebony. Her work has also been covered widely by outlets like Essence, The New York Times, and Fusion.
Hometown: Columbus, OH
Three adjectives to describe yourself: Passionate, Loyal, Sincere
MN: Who has been the most influential person in your life that inspired you to begin the path that you’re on today?
EH: Myself and my mother.
MN: As a Black woman/Black femme, we are rarely allowed to take up space. What are the ways in which you find yourself purposefully doing just that?
EH: I purposefully challenge myself to do things that make me uncomfortable, I’ve never been afraid to speak up, I’ve always been afraid to fully embrace all of me. So I enjoy doing things people don’t expect me to or believe I will do. I’ve learned that everything I say I’m going to do I do. Setting intention around my wildest dreams has afforded me that space I desire…