Meet The Staff- Samira

Welcome Samira (she/her) to the DC Center! She will be joining The DC Center Team as one of our Development interns. She is an undergraduate at the California State University Northridge, majoring in history. You can meet Samira at the DC Center on weekdays and some evenings. Samira is looking forward to celebrating and assisting the LGBTQ+ community here in DC.

Birthdate, Astro Sign

 

Aug 17, Leo

 

Where are you originally from? 

 

California

Why did you start working at the DC Center? 

Thought it was a great opportunity to help innovate the way we celebrate the LGBTQ+ community.

 

What has been your favorite part about working at the DC Center?

Meeting new people

 

What is your music anthem? 

Boom Boom Pow by the Black Eyed Peas

 

What is your favorite part about the LGBTQ+ community? 

The inclusiveness and shared respect that is felt amongst one another, whether it be in a public or private setting.

 

What is your favorite spot in DC and what do you do there? 

The National Museum of Natural History is such a beautiful place, walking around and reading there really makes me lose track of time.

What is your favorite queer movie?  

Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)

What color would you paint the White House, given the chance?  

Pastel Yellow

Who do you look up to in the queer community?
Queer artists and actors are individuals that I truly admire, the work that they create to shine light on the community is truly amazing.

Meet the Staff: M

"Meet the Intern!" in conversation bubble pointing at a headshot of Milysha Castaneda. Background is a series of cartoon plants.

Welcome M (they/she/he) to the DC Center! M will be joining the team as the Social Media Intern. They are an honors student at the University of South Florida studying Mass Communications and Sociology with a minor in Queer & Sexuality Studies. You can meet M at the DC Center on weekdays and some evenings. M is looking forward to connecting with the DC LGBTQ+ Community and assisting with The DC Center’s social media pages. 

 

Birthdate, Astro Sign

May 18: Taurus Sun, Leo Moon, Leo Rising

Where are you originally from? 

I was born in Washington State and moved to Virginia when I was 14. 

Why did you start working at the DC Center? 

I felt it would be a great opportunity to work for an organization that truly prioritizes the community and supports all LGBTQ+ members. I am sure that the experiences I gain and learn here will help me throughout the rest of my career. 

What has been your favorite part about working at the DC Center?

The DC Center office! The environment is so welcoming and they have so many services for the community including the food pantry, community closet, computers, library, and even free hygiene kits. I love a space that makes everyone feel welcome and included. 

What is your music anthem? 

I am currently addicted to Jeff Buckley and the entire Grace album. I am unsure of where my attraction started, maybe pinterest memes?

What is your favorite part about the LGBTQ+ community? 

This was really difficult to choose but I am settling with our style. The LGBTQ+ community is constantly setting trends that change history (literally!). Our wardrobe is a big part of our identity and I respect that.

What is your favorite spot in DC and what do you do there? 

I think the Grilled Cheese Bar in DC (GCDC). I would go often in high school. It has become a fun memory to come back and visit in the city whenever I am downtown. 

What is your favorite queer movie?  

It is tied between But I am a cheerleader and D.E.B.S. Both are the perfect gay romcoms that bring me comfort. 

What color would you paint the White House, given the chance?  

Easy, Pink! Color theory says pink is a happy color and I think the country could use a bit of that. 

Who do you look up to in the queer community?
I have never been good at choosing one role model so I want to say my queer friends (past, present, and future ones!). I find inspiration in all of my friends. They are the ones who motivate me to push forward and continue growing. 

 

Meet the Board: Christopher McDonald

Where are you originally from and how long have you been in DC?
I was born and raised in North Alabama. I have lived in a few different cities of Alabama, but prior to DC I was in Huntsville. During the pandemic, and unable to travel, I decided I needed a change of pace. After a lot of research, I landed on DC and have been here 2 ½ years and loving it! Roll Tide!

Please summarize in a short paragraph or two your interests and how they
relate to serving on the Board. What impact do you see yourself having?
Having served on two other boards in the past, when I moved to DC, it was very important to me to find another non-profit that was a good fit for me, my background, and my skills, as well as one with a mission I believed in. My professional background is primarily financial, having served as treasurer for a non-profit, worked for a bank, two government contractors, and now a global consulting firm.

As we all know, non-profits are notoriously looking for better ways to budget, be creative, and to make their limited funds go as far as possible to help the most people. I hope to use my knowledge in helping The DC Center do just that.

What is your favorite spot in DC and what do you do there?
The Kennedy Center! I am a big patron of the arts and love going to the symphony, opera, and theatre performances.

While symphony and opera music aren’t everyone’s idea of “easy listening,” it is my sanctuary. To close our eyes and let the music take you somewhere is what makes me feel safe and worry-free.

Who do you admire in the LGBTQ+ community?
Sam Smith. Like them, I am also a millennial, and I have had the great pleasure of following their career from the beginning, as well as seeing them in concert. I find every album to be relatable and easy to get lost in. I admire Sam’s ability to be their self, regardless of what others may think of them, as well as the courage it takes to put your vulnerability into words for the world to hear.

What are you most excited about regarding the future of the DC Center?
The new location of the DC Center. I am very excited about the future of how the DC Center will grow and strengthen their partnerships, relationships, and influence in the LGBTQ+ community it serves.

DC Center’s Day of Thanks & Zoom Hangout

Image has text about the upcoming Day of Thanks event

To allow staff and board members time to reconnect and recharge, we will be offering takeout meals for Thanksgiving this year. The meals are provided in partnership with Wegmans, and we are currently planning to have them available for pickup on Wednesday, November 22nd.

We are going to be providing approximately 40 meals for folks who register, as well as exploring whether to schedule a Zoom hangout on Thanksgiving Day. If you’re interested in either, please fill out this google form, and if you have any questions, please drop us a line at supportdesk@thedccenter.org

Also please acknowledge we are on Nacotchtank, Piscataway and Pamunkey Nations land.

RSVP HERE

ALL MEALS ARE SPOKEN FOR – if you want to be on the waitlist, you can fill out the form above and we will be in touch on Monday, November 20th with more information.

 

Meet the Staff: Celia

Welcome Celia (she/they) to the DC Center! Celia will be joining the DC Center team as a Social Media/Advocacy Intern. She is a student at the University of California, Berkeley studying Gender and Women’s Studies. Celia looks forward to connecting to and advocating for the DC queer community along with bringing forth more awareness to all the wonderful resources the DC Center has to offer.  

Birthdate, Astro Sign

July 26th / Leo Sun, Cancer Moon, Libra Rising 

Where are you originally from? 

I am from Orange County, California.

Why did you start working at the DC Center? 

I am new to DC and am seeking to cultivate and get involved with the local queer community. The DC Center was the perfect place to do so. 

What has been your favorite part about working at the DC Center?

The best part of the internship is working alongside the wonderful team at the DC Center as well as the ability to serve the community. 

What is your music anthem? 

Right now it is ‘Faith’ by SAULT. It’s uplifting and hopeful. 

What is your favorite part about the LGBTQ+ community? 

I love the way we challenge the dominant culture and weave our own paths no matter how they look to others. I love the way we offer the world alternative forms of communal, personal, romantic, and familial relationships. Most of all, I love the way we take care of each other.

What is your favorite spot in DC and what do you do there? 

My favorite spot in DC is any of the Bussboys and Poets restaurants. There is actually one very near the DC Center! I like to go there for brunch on Sunday and am looking forward to their open mic.

What is your favorite queer movie?  

My favorite queer film is a poignant Bollywood film called Fire.

What color would you paint the White House, given the chance?  

Sage green.

Who do you look up to in the queer community?

All the beautiful and brave Black and brown trans and lesbian women who have pioneered radical action and feminist thought that have transformed our lives, politics, and beliefs such as Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, bell hooks, Audre Lorde, and Miss Major to name a few.

Meet The Board: Justin Campbell

Join the DC Center in welcoming our newest Board Member: Justin Campbell! We are ecstatic to have him on our team. Read all about Justin’s background, interests, and inspirations below:

 

Where are you originally from and how long have you been in DC?

I was born in Brooklyn, New York City. Though, I can’t call myself a true New Yorker. I had lived in a few places before moving to Washington, DC. Most of my family is from the Caribbean, Jamaica, to be specific. And as a child, I had the opportunity to live there in Kingston for a few years. I moved back to the States in my adolescence and went directly to the South. Atlanta, Georgia, became my new home throughout junior and high school, and I stayed in the state to finish college.

When I graduated from undergrad, I moved to Washington, DC. 2010 seems so long from now.

Please summarize in a short paragraph or two your interests and how they relate to serving on the Board. What impact do you see yourself having?

I had the opportunity to work in my interests to identify and explore social determinants of health in communities. Seeing firsthand how nonmedical factors: one’s quality of life, location, how much one makes, or the distance of a grocery store, played themselves out in actual health outcomes for people became an indelible passion. In my past experiences, I recognized these factors in formats from fundraising, storytelling to photography, all to bring awareness and understanding so that potential recommendations and solutions can develop.

Through the DC Center’s focus areas from health and wellness, arts & culture, social & peer support, and advocacy and community building, considerable effort and opportunities exist to investigate social determinants of health in our LGBTQ+ community here in DC. By serving, I plan to identify and determine what factors across the city may afflict or empower our community to be the healthiest and the best it can be.

What is your favorite spot in DC and what do you do there?

I am a big fan of just hanging in Logan Circle. I’m an avid picnic fan and enjoy the company of friends in the park.

What influences inspire you, such as historical figures, leaders, singers, bands, etc.? Why?

I am full of wanderlust, so I travel as much as possible. Whether by car, plane, or train, I arrive in new locations with a big smile and an openness to my surroundings. I carry this motivation when I travel because I came up between two worlds: Jamaica and America. Then, I always felt the need to make myself present by sharing stories and experiences of the incredible differences and similarities between my two cultures. I still do. Traveling now, I relish those grounded, unpretentious experiences and opportunities when visiting a new place – a quest to find greater wisdom in people and myself.

What are you most excited about regarding the future of the DC Center?

I am very excited to utilize the new space for the DC Center. It’s huge! There’s so much potential for events with the community and collaboration with other DC organizations. I can’t wait!

Meet the Staff: Raven

Welcome Raven (she/her) to the DC Center! Raven will be joining the DC Center team as a Health/Wellness Intern. She is a student at George Washington University studying Women, Gender, and Sexualities Studies. Raven looks forward to helping better the health and wellness of the DC queer community alongside amazing staff and facilitators.

 

Birthdate, Astro Sign

June 4th / Gemini 

Where are you originally from? 

I was born in Long Island, New York, but grew up in New Hampshire. 

Why did you start working at the DC Center? 

I was looking for an avenue to become more involved in the queer community in DC. The DC Center has been looking out for our local community for a decade now, and I wanted to finally join them in that effort.

What has been your favorite part about working at the DC Center?

The best part of this internship has been everyone I have met at the center. The folks at the DC Center are truly wonderful people and always have my best interest in mind. 

What is your music anthem? 

Probably Barbie Girl by Aqua. The new Barbie movie is literally going to rewire my brain.

What is your favorite part about the LGBTQ+ community? 

I love the instant understanding shared between members of the LGBTQ+ community. No matter your background, you can show each other acceptance based on your shared struggles and shared dreams. 

What is your favorite spot in DC and what do you do there? 

The Diner on 18th Street in Adams Morgan! It’s open 24 hours and the perfect place to hang out after the bars. 

What is your favorite queer movie?  

My favorite queer movie is His – I Didn’t think I Would Fall in Love. It’s an incredible Japanese BL movie with an even better sequel!

What color would you paint the White House, given the chance?  

The lesbian flag. 

Who do you look up to in the queer community?

I look up to a lot of queer artists who have pioneered different forms of self expression through music and fashion. Janelle Monáe, Holland, and Steinberg are some of my biggest queer inspirations. 

 

Meet the Staff: Elana

Welcome Elana (they/them) to the DC Center! They will be the Social Media and Advocacy Intern at the DC Center this summer. Elana looks forward to interacting with people in the LGBTQ community and becoming more engaged in queer, culture events happening in DC. You can meet Elana at the DC Center on weekdays and some evenings. Elana is looking forward to promoting the incredible events, programming, and resources the DC Center has to offer. 

Birthdate, Astro Sign

May 1st, Taurus. 

 

Where are you originally from? 

Washington, DC. I’m a native Washingtonian!  

 

Why did you start working at the DC Center? 

The wide variety of programs and resources that the DC Center offers originally drew me to the organization. I love how many different aspects of support the DC Center provides.  

 

What has been your favorite part about working at the DC Center?

The warm and friendly staff that create a wonderful atmosphere. 

 

What is your music anthem?

Jackie Onassis by Sammy Rae and the Friends.  

 

What is your favorite part about the LGBTQ+ community? 

I love the instant connection I feel when I meet someone in the LGBTQ+ community. 

 

What is your favorite spot in DC and what do you do there? 

Comet Ping Pong! I love to eat pizza with family and friends there. 

 

What is your favorite queer movie?  

This isn’t a movie, but I love the tv show One Day at a Time. Watching that show was the first time I saw non-binary representation on television, which was really exciting.  

 

What color would you paint the White House, given the chance?  

Some jewel tones might be nice. 

 

Who do you look up to in the queer community?

My queer professors.

Meet the Team : Prim

A picture of prim with a sculpture of a black squirrel

Welcome Prim to the DC Center! She will be a social media intern at our center. Prim (she/ they) looks forward to meeting all sorts of people at the DC center and becoming involved with the community. You can meet Prim at the DC Center on weekdays and some evenings. Prim is looking forward to participating in activities at the DC center and seeing the different types of things the DC center has to offer. 

Birthdate, Astro Sign

January 20th – Aquarius 

Where are you originally from? 

Cleveland, Ohio

Why did you start working at the DC Center? 

I liked how the DC Center catered to all different sorts of people, and I saw it as an opportunity to get out there, and see how a supportive community can truly help others, especially as a Psychology major. 

What has been your favorite part about working at the DC Center?

So far, everyone has been super friendly and welcoming, and I really appreciate all the help I’ve been receiving, especially as someone new to the area. 

What is your music anthem? 

Good Days – SZA

What is your favorite part about the LGBTQ+ community? 

I feel like the community is super welcoming to anyone, and honestly it was a great support to me as I was growing up and confused with myself. 

What is your favorite spot in DC and what do you do there? 

Hirshhorn Museum – I’m an artist myself, so when I visit, I love just observing the art and taking inspiration from the many different pieces.  

What is your favorite queer movie?  

The Handmaiden

What color would you paint the White House, given the chance?  

Pink – it’s my favorite color, some of my friends would even say it’s my signature color

Who do you look up to in the queer community?

Kehlani – I love how down-to-earth she is, and she has been an inspiration to me since I was a teenager

We Are Moving!!! Read Our Press Release About Our New LGBTQ+ Community Center

Street view of the outside of the DC Center's New Space

We’re so excited to share the big news!

We’re Moving!

Check out all the details about our new location in our press release and watch this space for more details to come!

This amazing next chapter in our LGBTQ+ community members lives needs your support!

Please click here and donate what you can to help support the creation of our new space!

Click here to read our press release

 

  • thumbnail of the press release

 

 

Rendition/Photo Credit: Hickok Cole, our architects on this project