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AIDS United Announces First-Ever Cohort of FREE and TLI Leadership Development Program

Ahead of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, AIDS United is proud to announce our inaugural cohort of the Fund for Resilience, Equity & Engagement (FREE) and the Transgender Leadership Initiative (TLI)
Leadership Development Program.  

These leaders were chosen through AIDS United’s grantee partner organizations as representatives of transgender and gender-nonconforming people and Black gay, bisexual, queer and same-gender-loving men  populations in our communities most disproportionately impacted by HIV. These leaders were selected through AIDS United's grantee partners who prioritize transgender and gender-nonconforming people, as well as Black gay, bisexual, queer and same-gender-loving (GBQ/SGL) men.  

Beyond funding opportunities, AIDS United believes in investing in leadership development of those who represent the communities we serve. As such, these cohorts are comprised of trans women of color and Black GBQ/SGL leaders in the movement.  

Participants in each of the leadership cohorts will engage in interactive learning, including virtual meetings and in-person retreats, throughout the year. They will have access to in-house experts and mentors in the movement, along with additional opportunities for ongoing personal and professional development.  

Through the program, developed in partnership with the Transgender Strategy Center and Valerie Spencer of the Holistic Empowerment Institute and which is generously supported by the Elton John AIDS Foundation and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, these leaders will develop their professional skills and build personal and professional capacities as leadersWe hope to empower these community leaders to decrease gaps in representative leadership.  

Meet our 2019-2020 transgender women of color cohort:  

  • Diamond Collierexecutive director, Black Trans Advocacy CoalitionHouston, Texas.
  • Jasmine McKenziehealth program facilitator, Pridelines, Miami, Florida.
  • Jasmine Tasakiexecutive director, WeCareTN, Memphis, Tennessee.
  • Maddalynn Sesepasaraprogram coordinator, Hawaii Health & Harm Reduction Center, Honolulu, Hawaii.
  • Mulan Williamsoutreach coordinator, The Bros in Convo Initiative, Orlando, Florida.
  • Queen Hatcher-Johnsonprevention specialist, Positive Impact Health Centers, Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Sophia KassPositively Trans program coordinator, Transgender Law Center, San Francisco, California.
  • Toi Washingtondirector of programs, T.A.K.E. Resource Center, Birmingham, Alabama.

Meet our 2019-2020 Black GBQ/SGL male cohort:   

  • Ashlie Jacob Pollarddirector of administration, The Attic Youth Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • Dwayne Holmescommunity intervention specialist, Abounding Prosperity, Inc., Dallas, Texas.
  • Gjvar Paynepatient health navigator and deputy director, Capitol Area Reentry Program, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  
  • J. Donté Prayerhealth access coordinator, North Carolina AIDS Action Network, Charlotte, North Carolina.
  • Kendall Granberryoutreach specialist, Chicago Center for HIV Elimination, Chicago, Illinois.
  • Lorenzo Lewisprograms manager, THRIVE SS, East Point, Georgia.
  • Tremaine Jonesproject director, Freedom Fund Network, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
  • Walter Rucker, associate director of programsPridelinesMiami, Florida.

With support from AIDS United, the Transgender Strategy Center, the Holistic Empowerment Institute and their program mentors, each participant will be asked to complete a service-learning project that is focused on these same populations and seeks to address a need within their communities.  

Throughout February and March, stay tuned as we share the stories of these incredible leaders and the work that they do to give concrete, much-needed support to communities too often under resourced in the fight to end the HIV epidemic in the United States.  

Posted By: Helen Parshall - Thursday, February 06, 2020

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