Equality California, the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, and Equality California Institute announced Wednesday that Managing Director Tony Hoang will lead the organization as the next Executive Director when Rick Chavez Zbur steps down at the end of 2021. The organizations’ boards of directors unanimously selected Hoang after an extensive year-long succession process. Hoang will serve as Executive Director-designate through the end of 2021 and will continue to lead Equality California’s day-to-day operations. During this time of transition, Zbur will continue to provide strategic guidance and leadership at the organization.
“We cannot think of a more qualified, dynamic and visionary leader to succeed Rick and carry Equality California into its next chapter than Tony Hoang,” said Equality California Board President Joe Gregorich and Equality California Institute Board President Jackie Thomas. “The son of Vietnam War refugees and the first person in his family to attend college, Tony is a proud first-generation immigrant who grew up understanding the marginalized intersections of sexual orientation, gender, race, immigration status and class. Tony is the perfect leader to take the helm at this critical time for our community and the nation, and we look forward to working with him as he takes on this new endeavor.”
“I am honored and humbled to have the opportunity to lead such a diverse, dynamic organization that has been at the vanguard of the LGBTQ+ movement for the last two decades,” said Hoang. “Our community is at an inflection point — recovering from a global pandemic and economic crisis, facing a reckoning with centuries of structural racism and fighting back against a coordinated assault on transgender children. Equality California has both an opportunity and a responsibility to create a world that is healthy, just and fully equal for all LGBTQ+ people, and I’m ready to get to work.”
Born and raised outside of Houston, Texas, Hoang first moved to Los Angeles to attend the University of Southern California. During college, he served as a field intern at Equality California in 2009, beginning his 12-year career at the organization. As the movement for LGBTQ+ civil rights in California grew, so did Tony’s passion for Equality California and its mission, serving as Database and Volunteer Manager, Director of Operations, Chief of Staff and Managing Director prior to his selection as Executive Director-designate in 2021.
“During my time as executive director, Tony Hoang has been an invaluable partner in leading Equality California’s fight for LGBTQ+ civil rights and social justice,” said Rick Chavez Zbur. “There is no person better equipped to honor the organization’s legacy and continue building for the future than Tony, and I am so excited to see him step into this role. Our community and the movement are in great hands.”
Over the last 12 years, Hoang has played a pivotal role in the passage of groundbreaking civil rights legislation in California, Nevada and Washington, DC, implementation of statewide public education campaigns and the election of hundreds of openly LGBTQ+ and pro-equality candidates up and down the ballot.
“I want to congratulate Tony Hoang on his selection as Equality California’s next executive director and thank Rick Chavez Zbur for his years of service to the organization, the LGBTQ community, and our state,” said California Governor Gavin Newsom. “Tony’s life reflects the California spirit: a son of refugees, the first in his family to graduate from college and a tireless advocate for equality and justice. I am confident that the LGBTQ community will be well-served by his leadership, and I look forward to working with him to advance our collective vision of a California for all.”
As Executive Director, Hoang hopes to expand the organization’s physical presence across California, with a particular focus on the Central Valley, Orange County and the Inland Empire. He also plans to focus on advancing racial justice and reforming the nation’s immigration system as key priorities critical to achieving full, lived equality for all LGBTQ+ people. And building on key victories in recent elections, he plans to deepen Equality California — and the LGBTQ+ community’s — political power across the state.
“As a longtime supporter of Equality California and a former Equality California Institute board member, I am excited about Tony’s leadership and service as its incoming Executive Director,” said California State Controller Betty Yee, who serves on the Executive Director’s Council of Equality California. “From his early internship performing canvassing activities to his hands-on management of the organization’s complex operations and policy and strategic initiatives, Tony has earned the trust and confidence of all of Equality California’s stakeholders. He will be an effective intersectional leader of Equality California.”
“Anyone who follows someone as passionate and talented as Rick Chavez Zbur would have enormous shoes to fill, but Equality California identified an excellent successor in Tony Hoang,” said Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley), who serves as Chair of the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus. “With his extensive record of grassroots organizing and activism on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community, I have no doubt that Tony will help usher in a new era of equality and racial justice in California. As the son of Vietnamese refugees, his lived experience will also play a pivotal role as we seek greater representation from our leaders and continue our efforts to stop anti-Asian American and Pacific Islander hate crimes.”
“Tony Hoang is the right person at the right time as our country is awakening to the many ‘wrongs’ that people of color, women and our LGBTQ community have suffered,” said civil rights leader Dolores Huerta, who also serves on Equality California’s Executive Director’s Council. “He has the experience, intelligence, charisma, and ‘people skills’ to take Equality California to new heights. He is also a very hard worker. Tony has proven his dedication to Equality California and social justice issues with his life’s work. We are so lucky to have him direct this great organization.”
In addition to his work at Equality California, Hoang serves the City of Los Angeles as a Commissioner on the Innovation and Performance Commission, which is dedicated to improving the responsiveness, efficiency, and quality of LA City services. He sits on the boards of Equality Federation, the national movement builder and strategic partner to state-based organizations advocating for LGBTQ people, and DTLA Proud, a nonprofit organization that strengthens and empowers the local LGBTQ+ & ally community in Downtown Los Angeles.
Tony received a BA in International Relations at the University of Southern California with minors in Political Science and Natural Sciences. An avid concert-goer, cook, cyclist and traveler, Tony lives in Downtown Los Angeles with his fiancé Ian Grady, an attorney.