CHLP Announces Leadership Change

Mandisa Moore-O’Neal will become Executive Director in October as Founder Catherine Hanssens steps into a strategy advisor role.

For Immediate Release: July 25, 2022
Contact: Catherine Hanssens, chanssens@hivlawandpolicy.org

 

CHLP Announces Leadership Change

Mandisa Moore-O’Neal to become Executive Director as Founder Catherine Hanssens steps into strategy advisor role

(NEW YORK) – The Center for HIV Law and Policy (CHLP) is excited to announce that S. Mandisa Moore-O'Neal will assume the role of Executive Director in October of this year. At that time, Catherine Hanssens, CHLP’s Founder and Executive Director of 16 years, will step into the newly created role of Chief Strategy Advisor.

Founded by Hanssens in 2006, CHLP fights stigma and discrimination at the intersection of HIV, race, health status, disability, class, sexuality, and gender identity and expression with a focus on criminal and public health systems. CHLP supports movement building that amplifies the power of individuals and communities to mobilize for change rooted in racial, gender and economic justice. Their work focuses on legal advocacy, high-impact policy initiatives, and creation of cross-issue partnerships, networks and resources.

Hanssens is widely recognized as one of the country’s leading experts on HIV legal and policy issues, and for playing a leading role in launching the HIV decriminalization movement in the U.S. CHLP’s legal team has played essential roles in challenging policies – or the lack of them – that have the biggest impact on Black and Brown people, such as HIV surveillance and testing policies that eliminate the patient’s right to notice and consent, restrictions on parenting choices of women living with HIV, and the lack of sexual health literacy programs for youth in out-of-home care. 

Moore-O’Neal is a Black Feminist, cultural and political strategist, facilitator and thought partner for grassroots organizations, coalitions, and initiatives that are interested in transforming conflict and confronting and shifting power and oppression. Based in New Orleans, she is the founder of The Moore-O’Neal Law Group, LLC, a Black Feminist law and policy practice. Moore-O’Neal's main area of research and practice is abolitionist lawyering, which has included serving as co-counsel on several police abuse cases, and using a Black Feminist framework in her litigation, advocacy, and strategy work. Moore-O’Neal is a founding member and steering committee member of the Louisiana Coalition on Criminalization and Health and has been an Advisory Group member with CHLP’s Positive Justice Project for five years.

“I am so thrilled to be able to pass the leadership mantle to such a visionary change-maker as Mandisa,” said Hanssens. “We have been in conversation about this for a number of months, and Mandisa will continue to be involved in all aspects of the transition process. We believe this approach is both innovative and exactly what is needed. I am looking forward to continued work with Mandisa and to seeing where she leads us in this next stage of CHLP’s evolution. Mandisa is exactly the right leader at the right time – incredibly smart, wise, brave and dedicated to real systemic change that people can see and benefit from.”

In the coming months, Moore-O’Neal will be winding down her practice and consulting on CHLP’s work and strategic planning before formally taking over as Executive Director. “I am truly honored to lead this next phase of CHLP,” said Moore-O’Neal. “I am excited to bring my more than 16 years of Deep Southern grassroots organizing, base building and advocacy to an organization I’ve admired and respected for quite some time. CHLP has always centered a bold political analysis that expands our collective understanding of systemic oppression against people living with HIV while simultaneously leading the strategies to remedy the oppression. I came to know CHLP as a formative partner in our statewide work. Now is the political moment for continued transformative and accountable leadership and that is what I will carry forward. I am grateful to have the support of Catherine as Chief Strategy Advisor as we move forward with this transition.”

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CHLP fights stigma and discrimination at the intersection of HIV, race, health status, disability, class, sexuality and gender identity and expression, with a focus on criminal and public health systems. As part of this work, we support movement building that amplifies the power of individuals and communities to mobilize for change rooted in racial, gender and economic justice. We do this through legal advocacy, high-impact policy initiatives, and creation of cross-issue partnerships, networks, and resources.