In a 2018 interview with the Leeway Foundation, Celena Morrison described herself as “a very down-to-earth country girl who came to the city.”
She moved to Philly from North Carolina more than a decade ago, and “rose above the barriers that continued to marginalize me,” she told Leeway. “And now I am the woman I knew I had the potential to be.”
Today Morrison was named the executive director of the City’s Office of LGBT Affairs. She will start in that role March 2.
“With a background in community engagement and service delivery, Celena will be an excellent leader for the office,” Mayor Jim Kenney said today in an emailed announcement, “She brings unique experience having served the community directly and advised larger organizations on best practices for LGBTQ+ inclusion. While Philadelphia is known as a progressive, LGBTQ-friendly city, we still have work to do. I look forward to working with Celena to build a more inclusive city for all our residents.”
Before being appointed to this role, Morrison served as the director of programs at William Way LGBT Community Center, and was instrumental in opening the Arcila-Adams Trans Resource Center there. Prior to her work with William Way, Morrison served as community engagement specialist at the Mazzoni Center, and was also a support specialist for Mazzoni Center’s Pediatric & Adolescent Comprehensive Transgender Services program (PACTS).
She has served as a commissioner for the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations since 2018.
“As a longtime advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to continue that work from within our local government,” Morrison said in the announcement. “I can think of no better place to institute meaningful change than inside City Hall.”
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“As a Black trans woman, I have experienced first-hand the transphobia, workplace discrimination and many other challenges that face our community,” she said. “All of this motivates me to fight relentlessly for my fellow LGBTQ+ siblings. I believe that my past experience and intersectional approach to this work will serve me well in the new role as I look to build on the impressive accomplishments of my predecessors.”
“I want Philadelphians to know that I am ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work from the moment I step into my new office,” Morrison said, “and I plan to do so with a focus on engaging the most marginalized members of our community.”-30-
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