“Hello YPI Community,
I am beyond honored to join Youth Pride, Inc. as the Executive Director, and I thank everyone for the warm welcome! What has me most excited for taking the helm at YPI is the possibility to spend my entire work week engaged with the question, “How do we do more than inspire resilience in LGBTQ+ youth to do more than simply withstand the slings and arrows of home life and cisheteronormativity, to a place where they find joy, and learn early on their personal power?” I have a chance to remove some of the self-doubt and isolation queer youth are facing. I consider it a privilege and a duty to be in a position where I am equipped to handle this charge, and am eager to give it my whole heart.
I have 20 years of experience working for racial, economic, gender and environmental justice. As Regional Field Organizer for the Yes on 3 ballot campaign for transgender rights in 2018, I recruited, trained, and mobilized over 500 volunteers and staff throughout Central and Western MA. My team’s efforts directly helped us win the nation’s first state ballot campaign to defend transgender nondiscrimination protections. During my time with Amnesty International New England, I worked in coalition to address the structural implications and disproportionate impacts of immigration and detention, police violence, gun access, and environmental policies on Black/POC, LGBTQ+, and other marginalized communities, as well as end the death penalty in New Hampshire. In my most recent role at Neighbor to Neighbor Education Fund, I worked in coalition with youth, parents, doctors, and other concerned citizens to bring K-12 comprehensive sex education to the second largest public school system in New England, well ahead of passage of the Healthy Youth Act. I also led coalition work to keep bus fares free for all residents of Worcester. I pledge to bring that same passion for justice and equity to this role.
As a queer, working-class, AFAB Black person, I face challenges every day holding power accountable. I understand how difficult it is to navigate these systems while also advocating for oneself in an inherently biased structure. To be young, transgender and queer, without a vocabulary to directly address the special brand of liberal gaslighting that happens in our region, presents a whole unique set of unenviable challenges. I am forever grateful to the organizers and concerned citizens who introduced me to the power of organizing, mutual aid, and the vision of collective liberation.
I doubt I would have started to find my voice and comfort with my gender identity as early in life as I had without a LGBTQ+ drop-in resource in my hometown that is much like YPI. I can speak first-hand of the importance of having had a circle of trusted adults to speak with, as well as peer leaders that had my back. Circumstances have not gotten easier for LGBTQ+ youth today, and I am ready to do everything I can to help disrupt and eliminate the gauntlet of adversities our youth face across the Ocean State and throughout New England. I look forward to seeing you in the State House, on the streets, and (of course) at our upcoming fundraising events. My door is always open.