Dr. Yolande M. S. Tomlinson is a radical Black queer feminist, who brings a lifetime of experience, passion and learning to her role as the Director of Education and Applied Intersectionality for the Organization for Human Rights and Democracy (OHRD). She is a native Jamaican, an avid gardener, and a lover of people and all species of flowering plants, including dandelions.
In partnership with its executive board and leadership team, Yolande leads OHRD in visioning, developing, and executing educational programs that integrate lived experiences, intersectional knowledge, and sound learning and organizing principles to empower members, supporters, and partners in the realization of a better, more just world. In this role she helps to develop and implement ORHD’s national and international strategy. As a co-founder of OHRD, Yolande’s other responsibilities include managing and supporting the harmonious and smooth functioning of the organization, including its financial sustainability.
Prior to launching OHRD, Yolande served as the national education coordinator for the US Human Rights Network, where she was instrumental in the leadership development and education of social justice groups in the human rights framework, methods and principles. She also represented their concerns before various United Nations bodies. Before that she was the project coordinator and community liaison for the James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race and Difference’s national Working Group on the Civil Rights and Black LGBT Rights Movements. For her extensive work in mentorship and community building at Emory University, Yolande was recognized by the university with its Community Builders’ award and the Transforming Community Project Champions’ award.
She currently sits on the board of directors for the Georgia Women’s Action for New Directions and serves as the human rights advisor for the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance. Yolande writes and publishes as an independent scholar on issues of gender, race, violence, culture and human rights. Her most recent essay on reimagining black women’s role in community transformation can be found in the edited anthology, Womanist and Black Feminist Responses to Tyler Perry’s Productions (2014). Her essay, “Intersectionality: A Tool for Realizing Human Rights,” is available here and a short guide for advocates here.
Yolande holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. in American Studies and certificate in Women’s Studies from Emory University. She lives in Smyrna, Georgia (Cobb County), with her partner James and two feminists-in-training, Zoë Rose and Gaianna Skye. You can follow her on Twitter @DrYolande and follow OHRD at @OHRDemo.