CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A longtime LGBT, youth and social justice organizer has been appointed interim director of the state’s largest immigrant justice organization.

Lacey Williams
Lacey Williams

Lacey Williams, currently the Latin American Coalition’s advocacy director, has been appointed interim executive director by the group’s board. Williams will take over when current leader Jess George steps down on April 17. George, who has been with the coalition since 2009, is leaving to work as a community impact manager with Google Fiber. There, she’ll help the tech giant roll out its new internet service to diverse and low-income communities.

“For more than a decade I have had the honor of serving this incredible organization – working alongside families, leaders, and allies – all in the name of pursuing a vision of a more inclusive North Carolina. I leave with a profound sense of gratitude and peace, knowing that this transition comes at a time of strength and stability for the Latin American Coalition,” George said in a press release.

Williams, 33, has worked with the Latin American Coalition for nearly five years. Previously, she worked for five years with the Charlotte Coalition for Social Justice.

“Having served as Advocacy Director for four years, Lacey’s intimate knowledge of local, state, and national policy, as well as her leadership in grassroots mobilizations will undoubtedly enhance the organization’s pursuit of a more inclusive community,” a press release from the organization read.

A native of Orange City, Fla., Williams has lived in Charlotte since 2000. She’s been involved in a number of LGBT community organizations and projects. She attended Queens University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in history and religion.

Williams lives in Charlotte with her wife, Laura Maschal. The couple is currently taking care of several siblings whose undocumented parents were forced to return to Mexico several years ago.

qnotes profiled Williams and Maschal as a part of our first Young LGBT Professionals feature in 2013. Much of Williams’ work has been with young people and she’s a proponent of strengthening and empowering youth leadership.

“We need to invest in our young people in an intentional way, not a transactional way,” Williams said for the 2013 feature. “We need to see our young people as an ends rather than a means. I’ve always been inspired by how quickly young people can unlearn biases and internalized oppression, and how quickly they can lift their voices to become activists and leaders confronting the issues that they face. They need good adult allies who can give them support, rather than acting as barriers.”

MORE: Read more about George’s departure and her role with Google Fiber via The Charlotte Observer.

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.