RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina's leading gay rights organization has hired an LGBT activist in Arkansas as its new executive director.

Equality North Carolina announced Tuesday that Kendra R. Johnson would become its leader next month.

Johnson worked recently as Arkansas state director for the national group Human Rights Campaign. An Equality North Carolina release says she championed HRC's "Project One America" initiative, designed to expand gay rights in the Deep South.

Johnson succeeds Chris Sgro ('SKROH), who left last fall to become communications director at Human Rights Campaign. There's been an interim executive director in recent months.

Equality North Carolina was a chief opponent of North Carolina's 2016 "bathroom bill," which in part directed transgender people to use public bathrooms corresponding to their birth certificates. The law was partially repealed last year.