Irene Andrews lives in Central Texas, very close to Fort Hood Army Base. She works with learning disabled children at a local elementary school as a special education teacher and is proudly ‘out’ to her staff. Her retired partner and she have been together for 25 years. She loves to sing, garden and work for positive change in my community. Andrews hopes to someday marry her partner in the state of Texas and fights for equal protection under the law for young LGBT people who are growing up today.
Chip Arndt, President, Freedom Democrats of Miami-Dade and Director, Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus is probably best known as co-winner of CBS television’s The Amazing Race 3 with his then husband Reichen Lehmkuhl. Chip is an entrepreneur and former Wall Street veteran. Arndt worked with Morgan Stanley Investment Bank from 1991-1996. After attending business school, Chip embarked on an entrepreneurial career through Arndt Strategies Ltd. and helped start four successful companies in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Boston and Miami primarily focused on Internet software and marketing technologies. In 2009, Chip co-founded www.HatchPartnership.org, a clean-tech though leadership institute and green business incubator in Palm Springs, CA.
Chip presently serves as President of Freedom Democrats (the Miami-Dade LGBT Democratic Caucus), Director of the State of FL GLBT Democratic Caucus, and as Director on the Miami Beach Commission’s Business Development Council. Chip was elected a Florida delegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention and was nominated as the first, openly-gay Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elector of Florida’s Electoral College in 2008. He holds a Bachelors Degree cum laude from Yale University and an MBA from Harvard University.
Sara Beth Brooks is the founder of the San Diego Equality Campaign (www.sdequalitynow.com) and an organizer for Join the Impact (www.jointheimpact.com). She was raised in northern California where she began interning for the California Democratic Party at 17. Brooks went on to work on the Dean for America presidential campaign in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. She finished her degree in Business Administration in 2007, and since has worked as a bookkeeper in the private sector.
Gary Belis is vice president of communications for the Television Bureau of Advertising, the trade association representing America’s broadcast television stations. He joined TVB in October 1996. He previously served in public relations positions at Business Week, Whittle Communications, and Fortune Magazine. His work has been published in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Fortune, including a review of Donald Trump’s first book, which Trump called “the single worst review of a book in publishing history.” He is a graduate of the University of Missouri with degrees in journalism and political science and lives in New York City.
Bill Carpenter serves as director of national actions for Soulforce (www.soulforce.org), a national nonprofit whose mission is, “Guided by the spirit of justice and empowered by the principles of relentless nonviolent resistance, Soulforce works to end the worldwide religious and political oppression of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning people. He also works as an activist in his hometown of St. Petersburg, FL. When he’s not speaking truth to power, he’s on his friend’s sailboat, cruising around Tampa Bay or heading up to Memphis for some good soul music.
Lieutenant Dan Choi is a combat veteran of the Iraq War and a West Point Graduate fluent in Arabic. Because he founded a support and advocacy group of LGBT West Point Graduates (www.knightsout.org) he was notified of discharge proceedings under the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy criminalizing honesty among LGBT servicemembers. He has spoken out on MSNBC, CNN, FOX and numerous international networks as well as colleges around the US about the embarrassing and immoral nature of DADT.
Bert Coleman worked on the first AIDS Benefit for GMHC in 1985, was one of the founders of "LIFEBeat The Music Industry Fights AIDS." Worked on the First Star Studded AIDS Benefit at The Met called "Best of The Best" He helped put on the first AIDS Dance A Thon in Los Angeles for Powr106 with Madonna. He protested in West Hollywood for the Days of Rage when Gov Pete Wilson didn't sign Prop 6. He is one of founders of HRC in St. Louis and served as the first and served as CoChair and Entertainment Chair for the Black Tie Dinner in St. Louis. Helped start "Pride St. Louis" and also helped write the "Domestic Partnership Bill" for the City of St. Louis. He helped start "Dining Out For Life" for St. Louis Effort For AIDS, and has appeared and directed several productions of the AIDS Musical "Elegies For Angels, Punks and Raging Queen."(based on the AIDS Memorial Quilt) And works with the Global Health Council's AIDS Candlelight Memorial held around the world the third Sunday in May.
Tanner Efinger realized he’d been taking advantage of his liberal perspective after the passage of California’s Prop 8 when he sat and asked himself, “But what can I do?” Since then, Tanner has founded the Postcards to the President campaign (www.postcardstothepresident.com) and was named the Political Action Director of the Equal Roots Coalition. He’s a proud member of the OUTWest Coalition and most recently has begun work as Cleve Jones’ executive assistant. He is inspired by Gandhi’s quote, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” He currently lives in West Hollywood, California and looks forward to marrying his yet-to-be-found soul mate and raising children.
Todd Elmer currently serves as Director of Communications and Public Affairs for San Francisco-based artificial intelligence company H5. As an attorney and political operative, he has been active in LGBT legal and political realms since the end of the Clinton Administration. Most recently, he was a vigorous Proposition 8 opponent (both before and after the November 2008 election), including his work to add his company as a named party to an anti-Proposition 8 amicus curiae brief filed with the California Supreme Court. He has a wealth of political experience, serving as a member of White House Advance teams at numerous events for President Clinton and Vice President Gore, as Vice President Gore’s National Director for Business Outreach in the 2000 presidential campaign, and as New Hampshire Field Director for the National Stonewall Democrats in the 2002 campaign cycle. In 2004, he served as an LGBT outreach liaison and co-chair of the national finance committee for Kerry-Edwards. And in 2008, he was a member of the Law and Judiciary policy committee for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, as well as an LGBT media liaison for the Democratic National Convention in Denver. Todd holds a Juris Doctor, with distinction, from Emory University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree, cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from Furman University.
Originating from Indianapolis , In., Anthony Farver moved to Naples in 2007 where he saw a GLBT community divided. Inspired by the film MILK, he formed Stand Up SWFL, an activist organization that fights for GLBT rights, not only in Southwest Florida and throughout the State, but all the way to Washington D.C. When Cleve Jones announced plans for a march on Washington, Anthony jumped in. He is a member of the NEM Steering Committee and continues to organize buses to take hundreds to D.C.
David John Fleck is the Grassroots Organizing Coordinator of the Courage Campaign (www.couragecampaign.org), a leading multi-issue advocacy organization in the progressive movement that empowers more than 700,000 grassroots and netroots activists to push for progressive change and equality in California. In his role David has nurtured the explosive growth of LGBT and Allies grassroots groups post Prop. 8. He was instrumental in the launch of Camp Courage, an intensive two-day training designed to teach the principles and skills of community organizing to activists working to restore marriage equality to California. Camp Courage has trained over 1,000 organizers in Los Angeles, Fresno, San Diego, the East Bay and East Los Angeles. He served as the Courage Campaign point person for the statewide rally, Meet in the Middle 4 Equality, held in Fresno, CA the first Saturday following the Supreme Court's decision upholding Prop. 8. David attended the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Wendy Forbes is a current Board Member of Philadelphia Family Pride and an OUT Lesbian Mom on TLC's Surviving Motherhood 2006. She has worked with Teaching Becoming Parents Seminars for the LGBT Community and with Senator Leach on the Marriage Equality Bill in PA 2009. Forbes was the President and Founder of the Alliance for Sexual Diversity at Philadelphia University in 2000-2002 and also a member of ACT-UP during those years. She has proudly been doing gay rights activism for 20 years.
Seth Fowler is an organizer with One Struggle One Fight, a San Francisco-based direct action grassroots organization aimed at highlighting the intersection of LGBT issues with other social and economic struggles. As part of the wave of Stonewall 2.0 activists, he has helped plan and participated in a 100-mile march from San Francisco to Sacramento, mass civil disobedience in response to the CA Supreme Court's Prop 8 decision, homeless queer youth advocacy within San Francisco's Castro district, and many other local and state initiatives. Prior to moving to San Francisco he was known for horseback riding across Mongolia. He graduated from Carleton College in 2007 with a degree in International Relations.
Kyle Giard-Chase is a 16 year old transgender youth currently residing in Vermont. While spending most of his free time screen printing, Kyle has also managed to lead the first ever statewide Gender Neutral Bathroom Campaign in public high schools. Kyle hopes to continue his work in the queer community throughout the rest of his formal education, and throughout his career.
Growing up in the Persian Gulf, Rayyan Ghuma moved to the United States in 2005 to attend the University of Maryland, College Park. Shortly after moving to the US, she joined the International Socialist Organization (internationalsocialist.org), an organization dedicated to building solidarity across movements and fighting for a left alternative to war, poverty, and racism. While at UMD, Rayyan also organized as part of the anti-war movement through a local chapter of the Campus Anti-war Network (www.campusantiwar.net). She has participated in several national anti-war demonstrations throughout her time in the US and has been active in challenging the scapegoating and imprisonment of Arabs and Muslims as part of the so-called 'war on terror.' Rayyan has also been involved in the struggle for immigrant rights, the fight to end the death penalty, and the movement for full equality for the LGBT community. She currently resides in Washington, DC where she attends Howard University School of Law, and where she continues to be an active member of the ISO.
Conrad Honicker, 18, is a senior at West High School in Knoxville, TN. He founded the first Gay-Straight Alliance in Knox County in 2006, and has organized and supported efforts for a burgeoning East Tennessee Gay-Straight Alliance Movement. He has coordinated successful local events for LGBT youth for the past three years, and has been featured for his activism in the media. He is a past Student Organizer/Coordinator on GLSEN’s National JumpStart Leadership Team, and was a Research Intern for GLSEN in the summer of 2009. In addition, Conrad Honicker was invited to the White House Pride Reception in June 2009 and was honored to meet and speak with President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama to advocate for Safer Schools and anti-LGBT bullying in K-12 schools.
Flik Huang is a San Francisco based LGBT activist and community organizer originally from Canada. In the immediate aftermath of Prop 8 she became one of the founders of One Struggle, One Fight, a grassroots anti-oppression direct action group dedicated to organizing peaceful escalation of the LGBTQ movement by participating in and supporting direct action and civil disobedience, and to raising awareness of where struggles intersect within the LGBTQ community. When not organizing, she works for the Glide Foundation's TAES program, which offers training and employment services for the Bay Area's underprivileged youth, plays the accordion and studies aerial acrobatics.
Cleve Jones is proud that his work with Harvey Milk and The Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt continues as he now serves on the sub committee for labor outreach for the National Equality March and remains passionate about full federal protection under the law for LGBTQ Americans. He works for a labor union, Unite Here, which fights for the rights for hotel and service workers and absolutely loves his job.
Ilona Kadar is a social activist and is inspired, in part, by her grandparents who survived the Holocaust. In high school she served as President of the Student Association for Equality and sat on the Board of the Hate Violence Prevention Coalition in San Luis Obispo, California. She later went on to work as a tour facilitator at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. Ilona graduated from UCLA in 2008 with a degree in Communication Studies and recently relocated to Washington, DC to save the world.
Rev. Donna Tara Lee is a 61 year old male to female post-op transgendered womym who is a retired federal employee and a substitute teacher in Alachua County. Ms. Lee has been an activist since coming out in January, 2000 and strongly feels that after serving the US govt. for 35 years as a civilian federal employee she is entitled to all the civil rights every American has. Ms. Lee was involved in the charter amendment 1 fight in Gainesville where the attempt to roll back GLBT civil rights were defeated and for her part in that fight she was called "The heart and soul of the Gainesville Transgender community". Ms. Lee believes that Transgender persons need to be more out and not carry around guilt of who they are, nor depression over loss of family/friends/job etc. Ms. Lee's family/old friends have not talked to her since she came out lives a happy joyful life after transitioning and wants to convey that message to all T's. Ms. Lee's favorite quote concerning transitioning is "be ready to lose all you have in order to gain yourself."
Kate Leslie is Co-Chair of Join the Impact Massachusetts, a grassroots organization working for full LGBT equality. She is a high school history teacher at Brookline High School in Brookline, Massachusetts, and serves as the GSA Advisor at her school. She graduated from Whitman College with a BA in Politics and received her MA in Teaching from Western New Mexico University while working on the Navajo Nation with Teach for America.
Chaz Lowe has actively served the LGBT community for the past decade. Lowe received a degree in Managerial Economics from UC Davis. In addition to his involvement with Yes! on Equality, Charles is currently on the executive committee for Sacramento Pride. Previously, Charles was a director at the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, the largest regional Hispanic advocacy group in the United States.
Nik Maciejewski, an activist that was inspired to begin his work for equality after the passing of Proposition 8, has been organizing for Join the Impact Chicago (JTIC), a local Chicago group working in conjunction with Join the Impact national. Aside from holding over ten protests since November, JTIC has worked to educate the Chicago community and make it easier to become involved in the fight for equal rights. Through informational meetings, educational forums and community organizing, JTIC strives to empower the people to act for change, and stresses that anyone can be an activist. Aside from his activism, Nik is a barista and currently a student studying American Sign Language.
Robin McGehee is a transplant from Jackson, Mississippi, who received her M.A. in Human Communication, with an emphasis on public speaking and interpersonal communication, from California State University, Fresno. She is an instructor at College of the Sequoias and believes strongly that "When we Speak, We Shape the World!" In 2001, McGehee was honored with the Martin Luther King, Jr. award for her work with Youth Empowerment. She worked for four years with the Gay-Straight Alliance and Fresno’s REEL Pride Gay and Lesbian film festival. Most recently she helped organize Meet in the Middle for Equality, a statewide reaction in CA to the Prop 8 verdicts in Fresno, CA and has supported the Courage Campaign in their efforts to restore marriage equality in CA, in 2010. In her free time she enjoys traveling and spending time with her family.
Jude McNeil has been working professionally in the LGBT community for 10 years as a queer youth advocate and mental health provider. Jude volunteered with the Utah Pride Center for two years before being hired on as the Director of Youth Programs in 2006. As the Director of Youth programs, Jude is responsible for all aspects of youth programs including supervision of a youth activity center and oversight of an LGBT youth cultural competency training program. Jude has trained over 1500 professionals working in youth centered environments and foster parents. Jude has also started several programs and support services for transgender youth and their families and is active in the transgender community. Jude Graduated from the University of Utah in 2006 with a Master’s degree in Social Work and lives in Salt Lake City Utah.
David Melson is the Executive Director of Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons, a support and advocacy group working against anti-gay discrimination in the Mormon Church and elsewhere, and working to support gay Latter-day Saints and their families. David has been active in lobbying for LGBT civil rights through Equality Maryland and other organizations. He has a degree in Management from Case Western Reserve University, and lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Chris Miller is Founding President of Las Vegas Arts, Athletics and Activities (LVGA3) which is the largest LGBT social organization in Nevada. He is co-host of the LGBT Talk show “IN THE LV”. Chris is a member of The Clark County Black Caucus and The Stonewall Democratic Club of Southern Nevada. Chris is currently the Chair of the Coming Out Stories subcommittee for The National Equality March.
Joe Mirabella grew up in Iowa where he met his fiancé, Joe Brokken. Together they moved to Seattle in 2007 where Mirabella works for an online retail company in marketing and content development. They plan to return to Iowa during the summer of 2010 to marry. During Mirabella’s free time, he volunteers as the Washington State Community Organizer for Join the Impact. Joe is a coordinating committee member for Washington Families Standing Together, the Approve Referendum 71 campaign working to preserve the Washington State domestic partnership law. His primarily focus is on social networking outreach and online communications. Mirabella maintains several blogs including The Mighty Pen at http://blog.joemirabella.com, and he was invited to be the curator for the LGBT group on Al Gore's Current.com. Mirabella is serving on the media subcommittee for the National Equality March.
For near fifty years writer and activist David Mixner has been in the forefront of the battle for peace, justice and equality. Mixner, the national best selling author of two books, also writes a daily blog at www.davidmixner.com. In the early civil rights and anti Vietnam War movements, he was a major leader and organizer of massive marches. In addition, he is one of the early pioneers in the LGBT civil rights and political movement serving as an advisor to many candidates for President or elected officials while in office. Today, his reach is international in scope and influence.
Tony Murchison is co-chair of the Board of Directors for Appalachian Community Fund (www.appalachiancommunityfund.org) in Knoxville, Tennessee. He serves as staff trainer at the Helen Ross McNabb Center, a regional mental health agency. He dedicates much of his “spare time” to volunteer work, most often with various LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS organizations including: Knoxville PrideFest, the HOPE Center, Knoxville World AIDS Day and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Light the Night. Tony graduated with a degree in Theatre Studies from Maryville College in 2003 and then from the University of Tennessee College of Social Work in 2006 with an MSSW, focus in Non-Profit Management and Community Practice. Tony lives in South Knoxville with Jim, his partner of 7 years.
James Neiley has been an activist for LGBTQ rights since he began working with Outright and his GSA in his freshman year of high school. He began his same-sex marriage advocacy in the beginning of his junior year by speaking at rallies in his state. He then testified at the Vermont State House twice for marriage equality in Vermont. He has been featured in The Advocate's "40 Under 40" activist issue, and also in blogs such as Andrew Sullivan. James attends Champlain Valley Union High School in Hinesburg, Vermont. He is thrilled to be a part of the NEM and hopes to continue his activism in the future.
Chloe Noble is the founder of PrideWalk2009 and Operation Shine (www.pridewalk2009.org); where she and Jill Hardman are currently walking across America to raise awareness of the Queer homeless youth epidemic in the United States. Chloe is also the founder of the Noble Echoes Foundation, a non-profit organization, that will empower LGBTQ youth through personal, local, and national activism. The programs sponsored by the Noble Echoes Foundation will be opportunities for LGBTQ youth to experience direct action within the Social Justice Movement, whether it is through creating an event or a PSA or other projects. "Our mission is to build positive bridges between youth," Noble says, "It is our intention to unify youth through artistic expression, and to teach them how to become mutual mentors in a process of self-realization and collective healing. As a community we can offer our collective wisdom to these youth, that they may have the tools to teach us greater things." She lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with her partner Jenny.
Ann Northrop is a veteran lesbian activist and journalist from New York City. Currently the co-host of the national cable TV news show, "Gay USA," Northrop was a longtime writer/producer for the major networks. After quitting mainstream journalism, she worked as an AIDS educator for the Hetrick-Martin Institute for Lesbian and Gay Youth, experienced many arrests for civil disobedience as a member of ACT UP/New York, was an organizer of the 1994 Gay Games in NYC and attended and worked with the National LGBT Marches on Washington in 1979, 1987 and 1993.
Torie Osborn has been an organizer and advocate for social justice since the mid 1960s. She is former Executive Director of the LA Gay and Lesbian Center, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and Liberty Hill Foundation. Formerly Senior Advisor to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, she is currently working on poverty issues for the United Way of Greater LA. Her book Coming Home to America (St. Martins, 1996) was a Lambda Literary Award Finalist. She has been published in the NYTimes, LATimes, the Advocate and blogs - regularly for Huffington Post.
In 2008, Bonnie Owens graduated from the University of Utah with a bachelor’s degree in Gender Studies with an emphasis in human rights and is currently pursuing a masters degree at the U in Education, Culture, and Society. After graduation he took up the post of Youth Program Coordinator at the Utah Pride Center. There she ran a drop in center for Queer and homeless youth and helped to form TransAction, a thriving, youth-led, transgender advocacy group. Most recently, she has been part of planning and executing several large community events including Queer Prom - a dance attended by 650 of Utah's Queer and ally youth, The Women's Redrock Music Festival - a western, folk music festival held in Torrey, Utah, and Buttars Palooza - a subversive "party" on Utah's capitol hill held in response to the actions of Senator Chris Buttars. Bonnie hates sharks.
Billy Pollina, Courage Campaign, Advertising and Media Director, has been at the forefront of groundbreaking marketing campaigns in the entertainment industry from the launch of the DVD format to the premiere of the FOX Sports Network. He continues to produce television and film and consult on a wide variety of marketing projects. Billy also sits on the board of White Knot For Equality and is one of the founding members of the LGBTQI rights grassroots coalition, Out West.
Loch Powell is one of the co-founders of Unitethefight.org with his partner Phillip Minton, an LGBT blog focused on winning marriage equality through reporting news, action alerts, and organizations in the struggle for equal rights. As an executive in entertainment and media communications for over 18 years, Loch shares his experience in publicity and communication strategies to help further the cause of full equality for all. Loch is currently Chair of OUT West Coalition (www.outwestcoalition.org), the largest LGBT grassroots coalition in Southern California consisting of over 35 organizations in the greater Los Angeles area. As well, he has served his community throughout the years including the formation of West Hollywood Recovery Center, as well as Vice Chair of Van Ness Recovery House, and 16 years on AALA executive and planning board. He lives with his partner Phillip in West Hollywood.
Mark Reed is involved in the EAA Texas Congressional 32 effort to fight for full equality for LGBT people. He and his partner, Dante Walkup, are owners of Wiedamark, a specialty LED lighting business in Dallas, Texas. They were politically active in the city of Dallas mayoral campaign where former councilman Ed Oakley almost became the first gay mayor of a major U.S. city. Mark is a Vice President of the Cedars Neighborhood Association in south Dallas. Mark attended the University of Pittsburgh on a debating scholarship and received a master's degree in communication in 1984. He and his partner live in Irving, Texas and have been together 9 years.
Chelsea Salem is a community organizer from Orange County, CA. She identifies as awkward, female, lesbian, bisexual, and queer, and dislikes being labeled as messy and bossy, yet all of these terms apply. As an activist, Chelsea’s main goal is to inspire others to realize their own power as leaders. As a recent graduate from UC Santa Cruz, Chelsea’s goal outside of activism is to pursue a career as a contemporary dancer and choreographer. Resigning herself to the economic realities of her life as an activist and artist, Chelsea defines success as having a passionate and meaningful life. She looks forward to sharing her success with you in person at the National Equality March and in solidarity as members of the equality movement.
Sue Sena, SWISH President and Co-Founder, is a veteran fund-raising and communications professional with expertise in creating fund-raising systems and plans with a particular focus on progressive and social service organizations. She began her own consulting practice in 2008 after 15 years in staff positions with Fountain House, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the inaugural AmeriCorps program in Jersey City, NJ. An activist and volunteer for the LGBT and HIV/AIDS communities in New York City, she co-founded SWISH in 2003 to educate, organize and activate the straight community in support of the LGBT movement.
Jason Shackelford is a 31 year old LGBT organizer from Farmersville, CA. Working in a healthcare setting for the past 13 years, he currently specializes in Information Technology. Jason also serves on the Board of Directors for Fresno Reel Pride, the sixth oldest -- and one of the largest -- gay and lesbian film festivals in the US. Jason was an organizer of Meet in the Middle 4 Equality, the march and rally held in Fresno that garnered international attention as activists converged from each section of California to demonstrate the community's statewide mobilization for full equality.
Peter Stamberg is an architect living in New York City. He and Paul Aferiat have been life partners since 1976, business partners since 1989, and were married in Somerville, MA in 2004. Stamberg Aferiat Architecture, a monograph on their work, was published by Rizzoli International in 1997. Peter attended Columbia College, the Rhode Island School of Design, and The Architectural Association of London Graduate School of Architecture. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts, a Bachelor of Architecture, and an AA Grad. Dipl. in Semiotics and Architecture. Peter's life of activism began when he was a teenager. With two other teenage friends, 14-year-old Peter traveled from New York to attend the August 28, 1963 March in Washington. As a Columbia freshman in 1968 protesting the university's involvement in the Vietnam war and other university policies, Peter was among the first dozen students to enter Low Library, the university administration building, initiating a pivotal and influential student strike. Peter and Paul were active in the early days of GMHC, GLAAD, God's Love - We Deliver and In the Life.
Stacey Simmons is a Sergeant and decorated member of the Los Angeles Police Department. She is a founding member of Law Enforcement Gays and Lesbians International, and a life-long LGBT activist. She was the first openly gay police officer in the State of Connecticut, having come out in 1992 while a Connecticut State Trooper. She has provided training to police departments across the nation on LGBT issues as they relate to law enforcement. Stacey participated in both the 1993 and 2000 marches and will never forget the feeling of invincibility and pride obtained there. She is currently working on logistics and security for the NEM venues in Washington, D.C., and also working to restore marriage equality in California in 2010.
Tommy Simmons is a Mid-South area organizer and advocate with a focus on LGBT issues. He recently served as Board Member of the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center (MGLCC), Co-Chair of the Shelby Country Committee of the Tennessee Equality Project, and Treasurer of the Memphis Stonewall Democrats. In 2008, he was a recipient of the MGLCC “Movers and Shakers” Award and the QBliss “Gary Wilkerson Visionary Leadership” Award. He lives with his partner, Felipe Zuvichaux and their dog, Yeva, in the Memphis suburb of Cordova, Tennessee.
Wayne Ting was the National LGBT Caucus Chair and Communications Director of College Democrats of America. He has served on the board of the Out for Undergraduate Business Conference (OUBC) and Columbia College Young Alumni Association. In 2006, Wayne was recognized as one of The Advocate's next generation political activists. Wayne graduated from Columbia University with a BA in political science. He is currently working in New York City and lives with his boyfriend of 4 years.
Josh Tjaden is the Event Manager for AIDS Walk New York and AIDS Walk Los Angeles and is a member of the Senior Management Team of MZA Events, the events' creator and producing company. Josh resides on the Board of Directors of SWISH, a gay-straight alliance that provides opportunities for straight women and men to contribute their time, energy, and talents to furthering the LBGT rights movement. Since moving to New York from London in 2001, where he studied Art History and Fine Arts at Richmond University, Josh graduated from Marymount Manhattan College in 2002 with a degree in Art History & Arts Administration. When he is not traveling between New York and Los Angeles, Josh enjoys spending time in Iowa with his niece Sophia Louise.
Erin Upchurch is an activist, feminist, writer, and mother who has spent over 10 years advocating for and working to empower both individuals and communities. Prior to her current position, Erin worked for Planned Parenthood of Central Ohio as a Regional Field Organizer and Community Health Educator. Erin has also worked as a social work case manager with the Columbus AIDS Task Force, and remains active as an advocate within the community through her service on the Board of Directors of the Ohio AIDS Coalition. Currently Erin is the Community & Volunteer Organizer for a state wide LGBT advocacy organization. Erin is a licensed social worker (LSW) in the state of Ohio. She received her undergraduate education in Social Work from Eastern Michigan University, and her Master’s degree also in Social Work from Case Western Reserve University. She is a founding member of New Leaf Columbus-a social networking site for Columbus’ LGBT communities of color and their allies; and is a host and featured writer with Gaily Fwd-a Columbus based talk show providing resources and thought provoking insight into the lives of the LGBT community.
Erin’s advocacy includes working with LGBT youth as well as women living with HIV. In 2007, she co-created a state wide youth leadership summit for young adults living with HIV/AIDS. She regularly facilitates empowerment-based creative workshops for youth and women across the state. Erin enjoys writing and performing poetry and lives in Columbus, Ohio with her two children- ages 5 and 7-and her partner Michelle.
Frank Voci is the Founder of White Knot for Equality (www.whiteknot.org), a non-profit organization fighting for marriage and overall equality for LGBT people. He is the owner of Voci Media Works, a Los Angeles-based digital media consulting practice, and is Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of Aids Project Los Angeles. Frank was on the team that launched CNET, one of the first major internet media brands, in 1994. Since then he's worked on various new media projects and companies including a stint in 2001-2003 as President of IFILM, the internet video delivery leader of the time. Frank graduated from Stanford University in 1991 with a degree in Human Biology and lives in West Hollywood with his dog, Brooklyn.
Derek Washington is a 2008 Nevada Democratic National delegate. He is the Director of LGBT Outreach for The Clark County Democratic Party and is also Director of Outreach for The Stonewall Democratic Club of Southern Nevada and creator of “Boot Camp 2010” an LGBT political empowerment training course sponsored by The Democratic Party of Nevada. He is one of the founders of LVGA3, which is the largest LGBT Athletics, Arts and Activities organizations in Nevada. Derek is also known as “The Vegas Style Guy” through his writing for various tourist magazines based in Las Vegas. Derek is co-host of “IN THE LV” a two-hour LGBT internet talk show which is known for being a “mix of Howard Stern and The View”. He is currently considering a run for the Nevada State Assembly in 2010. Derek is honored to be Director of Outreach for The National Equality March.
Anne-Marie Williams - 2009 L.A.C.E. Public Service awardee from the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center and past Director of the Jordan/Rustin Coalition, Anne-Marie Williams works tirelessly to advocate for LGBT people of color and to empower this doubly marginalized group through valuable workshops, panels and programs. Williams, who worked extensively on the No on 8 campaign, is now involved with the Courage Campaign on its Camp Courage training sessions on LGBT activism. Along with co-chairing the West Hollywood Lesbian Visibility Committee, serving as a board member for the June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives keeps Williams active in moving her community forward for all.
Kip Williams is a native of Knoxville, Tennessee, where he began community organizing for LGBT rights as a senior in college in 2004. A graduate of the first class of the New Organizing Institute, he has been providing strategic support in online organizing to progressive nonprofits for several years. He was formerly the Online & Technology Coordinator for the League of Young Voters and the California Manager for DemocracyInAction.org. He is also a grassroots community organizer in San Francisco, where he enjoys riding his bike, playing the accordion, and local progressive politics.
Willow Witte graduated from Cleveland State University in 2006 and went on to become a teacher through Teach For America. She got involved in LGBTQ activism full time in November when she co-founded Join The Impact, which organized an international response to the passage of California's Proposition 8. Join The Impact is a network of grassroots organizers doing local work in the LGBTQ movement and has participated in several national events. Since November Willow has served as Join The Impact's Executive Director organizing further events to increase awareness of LGBTQ issues. Currently, Willow lives in Washington, DC.
Sherry Wolf is the author of Sexuality and Socialism: History, Politics, and Theory of LGBT Liberation, Haymarket Books, 2009. Wolf is an associate editor of the International Socialist Review and is an activist and popular public speaker on campuses, at community centers and union halls. She has spoken widely on topics from the war in Iraq and the occupation of Palestine, as well as about the fight for LGBT liberation. Wolf has written for publications and Web sites such as CounterPunch, Alternet, Znet, DissidentVoice, New Politics, Socialist Worker, MRZine, and others as well as done interviews with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!, Pacifica Radio and with BusinessWeek.
Stephen Zollman is a trial lawyer with the San Francisco Public Defenders Office for over the last almost nine years and continues to see first hand the devastating effects of discrimination. As a Juvenile defender he is charged with securing any and all appropriate services for his client and his clients’ families. He has a passion for helping our next generation with getting what they need to lead a happy, peaceful and fulfilled lives. He has served on several local, state and national boards that have advocated on behalf of low income communities to include the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered communities as well as those with mental health and developmental disability challenges. He served on the Board of Life Lobby and then helped to create CAPE, which is now Equality California. Along with his JD, he has a Masters in Health Law from DePaul University, and MBA and two BAs.