2015 Racial and Gender Justice Leaders in the HIV/AIDS Movement

Liz Brosnan Johnson | Executive Director, Christie’s Place

Liz has served as Executive Director of Christie’s Place since 2002. Christie’s Place is a San Diego-based nonprofit that provides behavioral health, comprehensive social services and advocacy to women, children and families impacted by HIV/AIDS. Liz is passionate about providing access to quality healthcare for vulnerable populations and offering coaching to community-based organizations to ensure they remain relevant and optimize service delivery in shifting environments. She has received numerous accolades for her services and leadership.

Nikki Calma | Program Manager, Asian Pacific Islander Wellness Center

Nikki “ Tita Aida” Calma has been working in the HIV field since 1995 and has been active in both A&PI LGBT and transgender communities. She is currently the Program Manager of TRANS:THRIVE, a drop-in center for the transgender community in San Francisco. TRANS:THRIVE is a program of the Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center where Nikki has been for the past 18 years.

Dee Dee Chamblee | Executive Director, LaGender, Inc.

Dee Dee Chamblee is an executive and a seasoned advocate within and for the transgender community. She has been a mentor, life coach, and consultant, and brings over 20 years of solid community-based organizing and data collection experience to bear on issues that include gender identity, transition and health, HIV/AIDS, substance abuse prevention, mental health issues, and intimate partner violence. She was inducted into the 20/20 Leading Ladies Society becoming first trans woman to receive this honor.

Ruby Corado | Executive Director, Casa Ruby, Inc.

Ruby Corado was born in San Salvador, El Salvador. She fled a civil war when she was 16 years old. Now 45, she has lived in Washington, D.C. since 1985 where she has devoted the last 20 years to advocating for the inclusion of transgender, gender queer, and gender non-conforming gay, lesbian, and bisexual people in mainstream society. She is a tireless advocate and leader for social justice, and has fought for LGBT human rights, transgender liberation, immigration equality, access to healthcare, hate crimes/violence, and many other disparities and issues facing the communities that she represents. Ruby’s work has been featured by Newsweek, The Washington Post, The Washington Blade, The Advocate, NBC Latino, Univision, CBS Radio, and National Public Radio, among other media outlets.

Dázon Dixon-Diallo, MPH | President & CEO, SisterLove, Inc.

Dázon Dixon Diallo is a recognized visionary and advocate in the struggle for women’s human rights and reproductive justice, and the fight against HIV/AIDS, on behalf of communities of women living with HIV and those at risk for HIV and STIs. Dázon is Founder and President of SisterLove, Inc, established in 1989, the first women’s HIV/AIDS and racial justice organization in the southeastern United States. Dázon currently chairs the Metro Atlanta HIV Health Services Planning Council, and is a member of the Community Advisory Group of the International AIDS Society. Dázon is a founding member of the 30 for 30 Campaign, and a founding mother of SisterSong and the Reproductive Justice movement. Diallo serves on the boards of the National Women’s Health Network and People TV. For twenty-two years, she has been the producer/host of a weekly radio program for Black women, called “Sistas’ Time” on WRFG 89.3FM in Atlanta.

Olivia Ford | Communications Director, Positive Women’s Network – USA

Olivia Ford is the Communications Director at Positive Women’s Network – USA, a national membership body of women living with HIV, where she works to build the capacity of members, staff, and allies to use media to shift the public discourse on women and HIV. Olivia has presented workshops to diverse audiences at conferences throughout the U.S., and has written articles, developed award-winning content, and interviewed and moderated discussions with HIV community members on such topics like trauma, gender-based violence and HIV, health care access in transgender communities, criminalization and stigma, becoming a parent while living with HIV, and more. Olivia is a native Brooklynite who has recently relocated to New Orleans, Louisiana.

Ramon Gardenhire | Vice President of Policy & Advocacy, AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC)

Ramon Gardenhire is the vice president of Policy for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC), and oversees AFC’s advocacy and policy work at the federal, state, and local level. He has been working in the healthcare-related legislative and policy field since 2005. His areas of focus include the implementation of the Affordable Care Act to ensure that new federal and state healthcare systems meet the needs of people living with and affected by HIV, Medicaid policy, state budget and appropriations, healthcare and HIV-related legislation and policy, and the Illinois AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP). He has a Bachelor’s degree from Slippery Rock University and a Juris Doctorate from Wayne State University Law School.

Aquarius Gilmer | Regional Affiliate Service Coordinator, National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, Inc.

Aquarius Gilmer is a social justice advocate with an interest in intersectional movement building at the corners of race, gender, spirituality, and economics. Passionate about life and its possibilities, Aquarius inspires fellow advocates and persons most impacted by HIV to utilize their faith, spirituality, and courage to create the changes necessary to make a difference. A proud and hopeful Southerner, Aquarius enjoys singing Negro Spirituals, cooking, and volunteering at youth development programs.

Elicia Gonzales | Executive Director, GALAEI

Since 2009, Elicia Gonzales has enthusiastically served as executive director for GALAEI, a queer Latin@ social justice organization, where she leads a team of dedicated, hard-working, and passionate individuals. Elicia serves on the Board of Planned Parenthood of Southeastern PA, on the Community Advisory Board for the UPENN Mental Health and AIDS Research Center, and on the Leadership Council for the National Latino AIDS Action Network. She has worked in the social justice field for more than 16 in various capacities ranging from reproductive justice to queer Latino social justice. Elicia moved to Philadelphia in 2004 to obtain Master’s Degrees in Social Work and Human Sexuality Education from Widener University. She is originally from Denver, CO where all of her beloved family resides.

Marsha Jones | Founder, The Afiya Center

Marsha Jones lives in Dallas, TX and is co-founder and Executive Director of The Afiya Center. Drawing on more than 10 years’ experience in the HIV/AIDS arena, she organizes and mobilizes grassroots community advocacy addressing housing, poverty and access to affordable quality healthcare services for women living with HIV. Marsha currently serves as Steering member and National Secretary of Campaign to End AIDS, represents the Afiya Center as Steering member of the 30 for 30 campaign, Co-Chair of The Texas Black Women and HIV Initiative Dallas Team, and a Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention, Research, Outreach, Advocacy, and Representation fellow. She has a BS in Psychology and is a graduate of the Science and Community Mobilizing Program of the Black AIDS Institute’s African American HIV University and Tyndale Theology School.

Terrance Moore | Director, Policy & Health Equity, NASTAD

Terrance Moore is the director of policy and health equity at the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors. His primary responsibilities include directing the organization’s policy and advocacy activities and health equity initiatives, including interfacing with the Congress and providing technical assistance to NASTAD members around addressing the disproportionate impact of HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis among ethnic minorities. Prior to coming to NASTAD, Terrance worked for the National Prison Project of the American Civil Liberties Union. He also served as a legislative aide for Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Christopher Dodd (D-CT). Terrance is a graduate of Howard University.

Venita Ray | Public Affairs Field Specialist, Legacy Community Health

Venita is an attorney with a passion for social justice, equity and advocacy with a background in economic development, urban planning, and community engagement. Venita was diagnosed with HIV in 2003 while serving as an Assistant Attorney General for the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia. Venita is currently the Public Affairs Field Specialists for Legacy Community Health where she monitors healthcare policy and manages an advocacy training program for people living with HIV. Venita is committed to raising awareness about HIV, eliminating stigma and teaching others to advocate for issues that impact the HIV community. Venita lives in Houston, Texas, has one daughter, two grandsons, and teaches yoga.

Lillian Rivera | Director of Advocacy & Capacity Building, Hetrick-Martin Institute

Lillian Rivera is a writer, advocate, youth ally, and a Latina lesbian wife and mother to two girls. With over a decade’s worth of experience in youth development, she has facilitated workshops and trainings across the country on working with LGBTQ youth, and was nominated for the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA). She is a nationally-recognized leader in HIV/Health and Wellness programming for LGBT youth, and has appeared on numerous media outlets including Cristina, CNN en Español, and NBC Latino. She has written articles on her work and her life as a Latina Lesbian mom for Huffington Post and Feminist Wire. Lillian is currently the Director of Advocacy & Capacity Building at the Hetrick-Martin Institute.

Beirne Roose-Snyder | Director of Public Policy, Center for Health & Gender Equity

Beirne Roose-Snyder is the director of public policy at the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), where she is responsible for promoting integrated sexual and reproductive health and rights within U.S. foreign assistance programs, particularly PEPFAR. She has previously worked as the managing attorney of the Center for HIV Law & Policy, as associate counsel for the 2016 Chicago Olympic Bid, and with AIDS services and education in the United States and Northern Ireland. Her research has focused on broadening access to essential medicines, and the role of perceived blameworthiness in AIDS funding priorities. Beirne earned her J.D. and certificate in Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies from Georgetown University Law Center.

Blake Rowley | Manager, Health Equity & Prevention, NASTAD

Blake A. Rowley is manager of health equity/prevention at the National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors. He provides direct and peer-to-peer technical assistance to state health departments on issues related to Black and Latino MSM, youth and women. Blake has worked in HIV/AIDS for almost 10 years, and prior to his time at NASTAD, worked at the Fenway Institute as a Senior Epidemiology Research Associate and Peer Health Navigator on the HPTN 061 – Brothers study. Blake is a University of Michigan – Ann Arbor alumnus, where he graduated with a degree in English literature with a focus in African American literature and gender studies.

Waheedah Shabazz-El | Regional Organizer Coordinator, Positive Women’s Network-USA

Waheedah Shabazz-El, an African American Muslim woman and retired postal worker, was diagnosed with AIDS in 2003 and has since become a renowned speaker and activist for social change. Currently the regional organizer coordinator for Positive Women’s Network-USA, Waheedah is also a board member of the CHARLES Foundation, a local anti-gun violence non-profit organization with a goal to mentor young people into being their best selves. As part of the release of the first HIV/AIDS National Strategy in 2010, she was invited to the White House and met President Barack Obama.

Charles Stephens | Founder & Director, Counter Narrative Project

Charles Stephens is the director of the Counter Narrative Project and co-editor of the anthology Black Gay Genius: Answering Joseph Beam’s Call. He was the Conference Coordinator for the 2014 “Whose Beloved Community? Black Civil and LGBT Rights Conference” hosted by Emory University, was a plenary speaker at the 2014 Creative Change LGBT conference, and in 2013, served as a Grand Marshall for the Atlanta LGBT Pride Parade. He has worked with the Ford Foundation, Georgia Equality, AIDS United, and AID Atlanta, providing strategic guidance and thought-partnership around program development and policy advocacy with black gay and bisexual men. He has been a fellow at the CDC Institute for HIV Prevention Leadership and the Black AIDS Institute Community Mobilization College. His writing has appeared in the Georgia Voice and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Robert Suttle | Assistant Director, The Sero Project

Robert Suttle is assistant director of the Sero Project, a network of people living with HIV and their allies fighting for freedom from stigma and injustice. He was convicted under Louisiana’s HIV-specific criminal statute, and after accepting a plea bargain, served six months in a Louisiana prison. Upon his release, Robert became engaged in anti-criminalization advocacy work, and has traveled the world sharing his story. Robert is featured in the short film HIV is Not a Crime, currently serves as board co-chair of the North American regional affiliate of the Global Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS, and is a member of the Southern HIV/AIDS Strategy Initiative Steering Committee. Prior to joining Sero, Robert worked with young African American men who have sex with men as a case manager and prevention specialist at the Philadelphia Center in Louisiana. He has been living with HIV since 2003.

Marvell Terry, II | HIV/AIDS Project Fellow, Human Rights Campaign

Marvell L. Terry, II is a native of Memphis, Tennessee and now resides in Washington, DC working for the Human Rights Campaign as the HIV/ AIDS Project fellow. After Marvell’s HIV positive diagnosis in 2007, Marvell’s work began in Memphis where he founded his own non-profit, The Red Door Foundation, Inc. His organization has focused on improving the health outcomes of Black gay men in Memphis and in the Southern region.

Channing-Celeste Wayne | Assistant Program Manager, Larkin Street Youth Services

Channing-Celeste Wayne is a black trans woman who has been living with HIV since 1990. She works at Larkin Street Youth Services, and is Co-Chair of the San Francisco Ryan White CARE Council. She is also member of the San Francisco HIV Prevention Council, the California Planning Group, Positively Health HIV National Steering Committee member, and a member of Positively Trans (all boards or bodies that do work to set policy and funding decisions for HIV care and prevention). She is humbled by the opportunity to be a part of this fellowship and connect with and learn from some of the sharpest minds in the HIV field today.