Deon Haywood is the Executive Director of Women With A Vision, Inc., a New Orleans-based community organization founded in 1991 to improve the lives of marginalized women, their families, and communities by addressing the social conditions that hinder their health and well-being. Since Hurricane Katrina, she has led the organization to a vibrant locally-rooted international network addressing the complex intersection of socio-economic injustices and health disparities.

    In 2009, Deon oversaw the launch of WWAV’s NO Justice Project, a campaign to combat the sentencing of women and trans* people arrested for street-based sex work under Louisiana’s 203-yr-old “crime against nature” felony-level law. This resulted in a federal judicial ruling and the removal of more than 700 women from the sex offender registry. Deon was also the representative from the U.S. South to the 2013 Frontline Defender’s Dublin Platform, has testified in front of the United Nations Global Commission on HIV and the Law and been honored with numerous awards by groups across the United States in recognition of her leadership at the intersection of HIV/AIDS, harm reduction, LGBTQ rights, reproductive justice and anti-criminalization and ending (mass) incarceration.

    At the 7th Annual 2020 Leading Women’s Society Awards, Deon received the Pandora Singleton Ally Award for 20 years of service as a non-positive ally in the movement. Deon was also part of the inaugural class of Public Voices Fellows with the Ms. Foundation (2016), and was the 2017 recipient of the 41st Ben Smith Award from the A.C.L.U. of Louisiana.



    Inaugural Class: Public Voices Fellowship
    Ms. Foundation, 2016

    The Ms. Foundation for Women announces its Public Voices Fellowship, an initiative that diversifies the voices and quality of ideas featured in mainstream media. The Ms. Foundation Public Voices Fellowship will provide a diverse cohort of 19 Ms. Foundation grantees with resources, skills, and access, in order to ensure their ideas shape not only their respective fields of reproductive and economic justice and safety, but also the greater conversations about gender in America.

    Diversity Convocation Keynote Panel Tulane University Office of Multicultural Affairds
    Tulane University, New Orleans, 2015
    The Office of Multicultural Affairs will bring contributing author for The Nation Mychal Denzel Smith author of “Black Millennials are Emerging as the ‘Movement Generation’ and “How Trayvon Martin’s Death Launched a New Generation of Black Activism” will join Tulane University professors Dr. Vicki Mayer and Dr. Mauro Porto; New York University Language Lecture Felix Manuel Burgos and Executive Director of Women With A Vision, Inc. for a moderated conversation around social media and activism moderated by Tulane Professor David Ortiz. 
    Named one of the 99 Dreamkeepers: The Doers
    Planned Parenthood, 2015

    To celebrate Black History Month, Planned Parenthood is honoring 99 African American leaders — one for each year since Planned Parenthood was founded.  The achievements of the Top 99 Dream Keepers range from the paradigm-shifting filmmaking of Ava DuVernay to the Reproductive Justice movement leadership of Cherisse Scott, from the crunktastic and hard-hitting analysis of Jamilah Lemeuix to the gender-busting art and advocacy of Laverne Cox.  Their work helps us connect to each other.  They inspire us to break down barriers to opportunity posed by poverty, racism, and sexism. 

    Recipient of Victoria J. Mastrobuono Award for Women's Health
    National Organization for Women (NOW), 2015
    Presented each year to an individual or group located in the region where the conference takes place, the Mastrobuono Award is made possible by a generous bequest from NOW member Victoria Mastrobuono. In accordance with the terms of Ms. Mastrobuono's will, NOW Foundation created the award for a "physician, researcher, health advocate person of note who has made a substantial contribution to women's health."
    Recipient of Kiyoshi Kuromiya Award for Prevention, Treatment and Justice 
    Philadelphia FIGHT, 2015

    Come celebrate the start of AIDS Education Month with the Opening Reception and Award Ceremony! Join us for hors d’oeuvres and great conversation as we present the annual Kiyoshi Kuromiya Award for Prevention, Treatment and Justice to individuals or organizations that have stood out as exemplars in the community of those fighting for the rights of people with HIV. This year’s Kiyoshi Kuromiya Award Recipient is Deon Haywood, Executive Director of the New Orleans-based Women  With A Vision, Inc.






    If you would like to book Deon Haywood for an event, please use the form below or email DeonHaywoodBooking@gmail.com. In the message, please provide all details for events including, but not limited to Date, Location, Event Topic, Flyer and Overview, Speaker/Honorarium Budget & any other relevant information. Ms. Haywood is available to speak on the following topics (and more):
    • HIV/AIDS Advocacy
    • Reproductive Justice
    • Formerly Incarcerated Women
    • Sex Work & Sex Worker Rights
    • Health Disparities in the Black Community
    • The Criminalization of Women in Poverty
    • The War on Drugs and the Criminalization of Drug Use


    Equality for HER (Health Educational Rights) Women's History Month Spotlight

    MARCH 20, 2015

    "Deon Haywood is a dedicated human rights defender who currently serves as the Executive Director of Women With a Vision. “Women With A Vision, Inc. (WWAV) is a community-based non-profit, founded by a grassroots collective of African-American women in response to the spread of HIV/AIDS in communities of color.” Her commitment to improving the lives of all marginalized people is limitless. Haywood’s intersectional approach to advocacy incorporates HIV/AIDS, LGBTQ rights, reproductive justice, decriminalization, and many more human rights causes."

    Named VIP Magazine's 2015 LGBT Professionals

    March 2015

    "New Orleans gay community roots date back as far as most of our city's history. Our greatest success is in our community members and especially our business professionals. Our readers, staff, family and friends nominated a group of these professionals and we are produ to present the 2015 VIP LGBT Professionals. These community and business professionals excel in the areas of business, charity, philanthropy, fay rights, and much more.
    "15 Fab Femmes Who Rocked 2014"
    DECEMBER 10, 2014

    Deon Haywood is holding things down for QWOC in southern states. The human rights activist has used her platform to increase LGBTQ visibility, raise awareness, and spread the word about important issues that plague queer people of color. She’s been spotted doing commentary with various news stations, speaking on panels across the nation, and working with a number of organizations in New Orleans Louisiana that aim to better the quality of living in the city. She’s also actively involved with Women With a Vision which is an organization that aims to empower women and fight for equal rights
    "Report: Sex Crimes Ignored by NOPD"
    NOVEMBER 15, 2014

    A new report finds that police in New Orleans failed to properly investigate hundreds of reports of sex crimes. Deon Haywood from Women With a Vision joins to discuss.
    "Sexual assault, NOPD & 
    "indifference to our citizens""
    NOVEMBER 12, 2014

    “We wonder why women don’t speak up — who are they speaking up to?” says Deon Haywood, director of the women’s health advocacy group Women with a Vision. “You can’t trust the people whose job is to protect you.” Haywood recommends NOPD also provide “implicit bias” training — to prevent officers from determining (or dismissing) criminal behavior based on stereotypes and personal attitudes. (For example, Detective Damita Williams determined simple rape doesn’t constitute a crime, which brings up issues of victim blaming and further entrenches the trauma felt among victims of sexual assault.) But the sampled cases in the OIG report “speak to a deeper issue,” Haywood says...
    "Activist Spotlight: Deon Haywood on Justice and the Movement in New Orleans"
    August 14, 2014

    "In May of this year, I talked to Deon Haywood, Executive Director of Women With A Vision in New Orleans about her approach to organizing. WWAV scored a significant grassroots legal and political victory in the last year with the NO Justice campaign, which removed hundreds of cis and trans women from Louisiana’s registered felony sexual offender rolls. Deon is a longtime activist in the city of New Orleans, with a history of organizing low-income women of color around reproductive justice, harm reduction, and human rights..."
    "H.I.V.’s Grip on the American South"
    APRIL 7, 2014

    One night after midnight in 2012, Deon Haywood was sitting at home, in New Orleans, watching TV and having a drink, when she got a phone call. The owner of her office building was on the line.

    “There’s been a fire,” he said.


    Haywood ran out to her car and drove to North Jefferson Davis Parkway, to the stout gray building that housed Women with a Vision, a community nonprofit she runs, which does H.I.V.-prevention work and other forms of advocacy geared toward women of color. In Louisiana, the death rate from AIDS is nearly twice the national average...


    Read the rest of the article here

    "The Reality of Trafficking at the Super Bowl"
    FEBRUARY 2, 2014

    The claims about sporting events and sex trafficking do not come without consequences for the very women law enforcement is looking to protect. Deon Haywood, Dave Zirin, Joy Reid and Yamiche Alcindor discuss.
    "Deon Haywood:
    Winnovating Intersectional HIV/AIDS Activism"
    December 23rd, 2013

    *NOTE: Winnovating = Women Innovating*
    "We are Winnovative not just because we believe in what we are doing, but because what we are doing is not based on a model that someone else created. From the start, WWAV was really about working with people and getting to know what they needed. We ask, “What do you want and how can we assist you?” and then we get it done. We don’t want to give [people] anything; we want to make sure that the people in our communities have access to the information and the tools they need to fight or to do better. We have an understanding that we need to position ourselves to share their stories…our stories..."
    "Health Hero: Improving the Health and Lives of Women in NOLA"
    JULY 18, 2013

    With an array of programs including HIV prevention, clean syringe initiatives, skills training to improve economic outcomes and health education classes, the organization has flourished, even taking on policy work. In 2012, WWAV was a prominent force in getting a bill passed in Louisiana that took sex workers off the sex offender list. And with so much going well for WWAV, last May they were struck with tragedy when an unknown assailant purposely burned down their headquarters. BET.com sat down with Haywood to talk about how the organization is doing post-arson, the policy work they are doing and the need for people to speak up for themselves... 
    "I Am Not A Sex Offender"
    June 13, 2013

    "On the street since the age of 14, a girl became addicted to drugs. At 17, she was arrested for prostitution. Though there was no force and no minors involved, she was placed on the sex offender list in Louisiana, branding her ID with the words, landing her on an official website and forcing her to notify her neighbors...Thanks to a groundbreaking legal settlement this week, spearheaded by Haywood’s organization and a team of civil rights attorneys, that’s about to change, with 700 people convicted under the law about to be removed from the registry..."
    "Healing the Hurt"
    SEPTEMBER 2012

    "HIV and women’s health activists see the fire as one in a series of violent attacks on women and transwomen, particularly those of color, who are advocating for their rights. The fire did more than destroy property; it also served as a cruel reminder of women’s vulnerability and the violence they experience. “Since the attack on our office, I feel that many of us with Women With a Vision have revisited every trauma that we’ve been through,” Haywood says. “Violence seems to be this normal thing, because we’re used to seeing it...”
    "How the 'Sex Offender' Label Targets Poor and Transgender Women of Color in Louisiana"
    MAY 18, 2012

    "With President Obama's historic statement in support of marriage equality, the national political debate over who has the right to marry has heated up. But the right to marry is not always the most pressing issue confronting queer people, especially in queer communities of color, which continue to face criminalization and police violence. In this post, New Orleans advocate Deon Haywood (pictured) discusses how Louisiana law enforcement has unfairly targeted women of color, especially transgender women of color, using the states' Solicitation of Crime Against Nature statute. The law criminalizes the selling of anal and oral sex, and until recently required people convicted of the crime to register as sex-offenders. In comparison, those convicted of prostitution using heterosexual intercourse only face a misdemeanor and need not register as sex-offenders. Haywood's group, Women with A Vision, filed suit against the state for this discriminatory law..."
    "Deon Haywood named
    Queen of Krewe du Vieux 2012"

    It takes a special kind of person to be the Queen of Krewe du Vieux. It also takes a special kind of person to devote herself to fighting for the rights of some of our society’s most neglected members: women, primarily of color, poor, often not well educated, sometimes addicted to drugs, many of them sex workers, no small number the victims of abuse. This kind of work requires vision – which happens to be a specialty of Deon Haywood, Executive Director of Women With A Vision and the Queen of Krewe du Vieux 2012.
    "Deon Haywood Leads Women With a Vision To Their New Home After the Fire"

    I sat down with Ms. Haywood recently and although it had been a few months since the fire, the mental wounds were still very fresh. “I still have moments when I become emotional and we still don’t have answers as to why this happened,” explained Haywood as her eyes started to swell with tears. She has a lot of questions for the man who stole the safe haven for many of her clients and her staff. “Did you not like our work with transgender women? Did you not like that we speak out for the LGBT community? Do you not like that we speak out for women? Which one of those things is it? Or do you just not like me?” she questioned.

    Check out Deon in action in the audio/videos below


    This week, students at the University of Nevada, Reno held a conference on how to make healthcare more accessible for everyone no matter their race, socioeconomic situation, gender identity, legal status, or anything else.

    The school's Division of Health Sciences brought in Deon Haywood for that conversation. She runs a nonprofit in New Orleans that's been helping under-served populations for almost three decades. While in Reno, she caught up with our News Director Michelle Billman. Executive Director Deon Haywood delivered the keynote address at this year's Cultural Considerations In Healthcare symposium at UNR, focusing on how future doctors and nurses can practice harm reduction for their patients. Harm reduction is any method or practice used to reduce risk of harm, a common example being clean needles programs that protect injection drug users from transmitting HIV. 

    Empowered: Deon is Making a Difference in New Orleans
    Video by Greater than AIDS
    May 2015
    Panel Presentation at "Are the Gods Afraid of Black Sexuality" Conference: Religion, Media, Markets & the Making of Black Sexualities. Skip to 6:20 for Ms. Haywood.
    Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, where does New Orleans stand? To Deon Haywood, it's all about the takeover--young, largely white populations are coming in, gentrifying and "cleaning up" the city, but where does this leave the native, largely black New Orleanians?

    Interview with Deon Haywood by Jordan Flaherty for GRITtv

    Frontline Defenders sits down with an interview with Deon Haywood. Front Line Defenders is the International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders. We work to provide fast and effective action to help protect human rights defenders at risk so they can continue their work as key agents of social change.
    Keynote address at the 2010 Annual Conference of the Desiree Alliance.