The temporary president of Planned Parenthood, Alexis McGill Johnson, carries a background in progressive and political activism into her new role.
McGill Johnson replaces former Planned Parenthood President Leana Wen, who was removed by the organization from her position Tuesday. Wen claims that her removal was a result of “philosophical differences” between her vision for Planned Parenthood’s future and the board’s vision.
The temporary president is also the co-founder of executive director of the Perception Institute, “a consortium of researchers, advocates, and strategists who translate cutting edge mind science research on race, gender, ethnic, and other identities into solutions that reduce bias and discrimination, and promote belonging.”
McGill Johnson helped create the May 2018 Starbucks racial bias curriculum at the Perception Institute and authored “The Good Hair Study,” examining attitudes towards black women’s hair, according to her profile on institute’s website.
A graduate of Princeton and Yale, McGill Johnson formerly taught in the Department of Political Science and African-American studies at both Yale and Wesleyan Universities. She moved into politics in 2004, serving as political director to hip hop entrepreneur Russell Simmons and later as executive director of the nonprofit Citizen Change, an organization that educates young voters.
McGill Johnson formerly served as a chair on the Planned Parenthood Federation of America board and previously served on the boards of New York Civil Liberties Union, Center for Social Inclusion and Citizen Engagement Lab.
“I’m proud to serve as Acting President to facilitate a smooth leadership transition in this critical moment for Planned Parenthood and the patients and communities we serve,” McGill Johnson tweeted Tuesday. “I thank Dr. Wen for her service and her commitment to patients.”
I’m proud to serve as Acting President to facilitate a smooth leadership transition in this critical moment for Planned Parenthood and the patients and communities we serve. I thank Dr. Wen for her service and her commitment to patients.
— Alexis McGillJohnson (@alexismcgill) July 16, 2019
“Having been part of the Planned Parenthood family for nearly a decade, and having spent my career working in movements for social justice, I can’t think of a greater honor or more weighty responsibility than leading an organization like Planned Parenthood in this moment,” she added in another tweet.
“I’m excited to get to work alongside the incredible team at Planned Parenthood who work every single day to help people access high quality reproductive health care.”
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