Tony Hoang, managing director of Equality California, the state’s largest LGBTQ+ advocacy organization, has been selected to succeed Rick Chavez Zbur as executive director.
Hoang, who will also succeed Zbur as executive director of Equality California’s sister organization, Equality California Institute, was chosen unanimously by the boards of both groups, according to a Wednesday press release. He will serve as executive director-designate until Zbur steps down at the end of this year. Zbur recently announced his candidacy for California State Assembly from District 50 in Los Angeles in the 2022 election.
“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,” Equality California Board President Joe Gregorich and Equality California Institute Board President Jackie Thomas said in the release. “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.”
Hoang, who grew up near Houston, moved to Los Angeles to attend the University of Southern California. While a student, he joined Equality California in 2009 as a field intern. He continued with the organization in various capacities, including database and volunteer manager, director of operations, and chief of staff, before becoming managing director.
“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,” Hoang said in the release. “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.”
Over his tenure with Equality California, Hoang has successfully advocated for LGBTQ+ civil rights legislation in California, Nevada, and Washington, D.C., implemented statewide public education campaigns, and helped elect LGBTQ+ and allied candidates. As executive director, he hopes to expand the group’s physical presence across California and its work on racial justice and immigration reform.
“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,” Zbur said. “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.”
“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,” added Assemblymember Evan Low, who chairs 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.”