Fomer ACLU of Iowa board member Karen Mackey of Sioux City has been selected to receive an inaugural LGBTQ Legacy Leader Award.
The awards are a partnership between One Iowa and dsm magazine that aims to recognize important contributions of LGBTQ Iowans.
Karen is the executive director of the Sioux City Human Rights Commission. She is also the co-founder of the Siouxland Pride Alliance, promoting the equality, safety and wellbeing of LGBT people in the area.
The following is an excerpt from the LGBTQ Legacy Leaders award recipient profile featured on the dsm magazine website.

Karen Mackey: Born for Advocacy

By Luke Manderfeld

Karen Mackey’s parents were a powerful pair. Her mother was a leader in local civil rights issues. A white woman, she married a member of the Santee Sioux tribe who was also a civil rights activist. 

They preached servant leadership to their daughter Karen, who remembers wanting to be involved in equality issues as early as age 15. She was also raised in a comfortable, middle-class neighborhood, a luxury not afforded to many minorities, she says...
At the same time, Mackey was grappling with her own identity. She didn’t quite understand her feelings during her high school years, but one thing was certain: She didn’t want to deal with them. It was the early 1970s, and she was afraid of the consequences if she came out in mostly conservative Sioux City.