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: Corey

Welcome Corey (he/him) to the DC Center! He will be joining the DC Center Team as a Social Media intern. You can meet Corey at the DC Center on weekdays and some evenings. Corey looks forward to marching in the Capital Pride parade with the DC Center and helping to promote pride events through our social media!

Birthdate, Astro Sign
June 22, Cancer

Where are you originally from?
Virginia

Why did you start working at the DC Center?
I am passionate about using my creativity to connect groups within the community via social media posts and promoting certain events in
order to create awareness.

What has been your favorite part about working at the DC Center?
Being surrounded by other folks who are passionate about creating change and giving back to the community. 

What is your music anthem?
Pink Pony Club, Chappell Roan

What is your favorite part about the LGBTQ+ community?
We throw the best parties around. It’s always a good time!

What is your favorite spot in DC and what do you do there?
My favorite spot in DC is definitely U Street! I love to go out to different bars and clubs with my friends. 

What is your favorite queer movie?
Bottoms (2023)

What color would you paint the White House, given the chance?
Pastel blue & pink.

Who do you look up to in the queer community?
Hunter Schafer. She does so much for the community in terms of visibility as well as using her platform to empower artists and create spaces for them to showcase their work.

Meet the Staff: Lily

 

Welcome Lily (she/her) to the DC Center! She will be joining the DC Center Team as a Development intern. She is an undergraduate finance student at American University. You can meet Lily at the DC Center on weekdays and some evenings. Lily is looking forward to assisting LGBTQ+ community members in D.C.

Birthdate, Astro Sign

October 18, Libra

Where are you originally from? 

Ohio

Why did you start working at the DC Center? 

I want to develop my finance skills in the nonprofit space and give back to my community.

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

The staff are so kind and welcoming, and I love the artwork featured around the building! 

What is your music anthem? 

4 Minutes, Madonna 

What is your favorite part about the LGBTQ+ community? 

The diversity–everyone is different and special in their own way, and I love hearing everyone’s stories. 

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

The Adams Morgan strip–there’s so many different cultures and communities represented on one street, and I always find something new to enjoy when I visit. 

What is your favorite queer movie?  

Rocketman (2019)

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

Electric blue…

Who do you look up to in the queer community?

I’m so grateful for the queer authors and artists that do so much to increase our community’s visibility. Representation matters! 

Meet the Staff: Dylan

Welcome Dylan (she/her) to the DC Center! She will be joining the DC Center Team as a Development intern. She is a graduate political science student at American University. You can meet Dylan at the DC Center on weekdays and some evenings. Dylan is looking forward to assisting LGBTQ+ community members in D.C.

Birthdate, Astro Sign

August 25th, Virgo

 

Where are you originally from? 

North Carolina

 

Why did you start working at the DC Center? 

I want to develop professional skills while serving my community.

 

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

The staff has been so welcoming!

 

What is your music anthem? 

Judas by Lady Gaga

 

What is your favorite part about the LGBTQ+ community? 

I love the sense of community. There’s always some level of familiarity, even when meeting a stranger in the community.

 

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

I love the soccer field in Adams Morgan. It’s a great spot to read or people watch.

 

What is your favorite queer movie?  

Jennifer’s Body

 

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

I think a holographic White House would be great.

 

Who do you look up to in the queer community?

My friends!

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 Staff: Jocelyn

Photo of Jocelyn Jacoby in a grey shirt with a blue background. Photo is centered over rainbow background with geometric shapes.

Welcome Jocelyn Jacoby (she/her) to the DC Center! Jocelyn is a Licensed Graduate Social Worker and will be joining the DC Center as the Anti-Violence Program Director and Psychotherapist. Jocelyn’s background is in managing victim hotlines and she is grateful for a position to directly serve LGBTQ+ survivors of trauma in her community of Washington, DC. She is excited to join the Behavioral Health Services team and to meet all the activists involved with the Anti-Violence Project. Jocelyn especially looks forward to working in a place that is openly queer and the opportunity to create a safe space for those in crises. You can meet Jocelyn at the DC Center on weekdays and some evenings. 

Birthdate, Astro Sign

July 5th: Cancer Sun, Libra Moon, and Sagittarius Rising. 

 

Where are you originally from? 

I was born in California, raised in Montgomery County, Maryland, and my family has lived in NYC for the past decade. 

 

Why did you start working at the DC Center? 

In Hebrew, tikkun olam roughly translates to “repair the world” and is a signature theme of Jewish tradition. I am always looking for mission-based work that aligns with my values and gives me meaning. I was thrilled by the opportunity to join the DC Center in  educating, empowering, uplifting, celebrating, elevating and connecting the LGBTQ+ community of Washington, DC. This position was especially exciting to me because it combines advocacy and program management opportunities along with clinical services. It is my belief that I can better understand the needs of LGBTQ+ trauma survivors by working at the individual level alongside the community level.

 

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

My favorite part of working at the DC Center has been getting to know the staff members and the wonderful work they do. It is such an honor to be part of this group. 

 

What is your music anthem? 

Having just received my Spotify Wrapped, I can confirm with data that my most listened to artist is Lorde. Once the weather starts warming up, I am listening to Solar Power on repeat. In the darker months, I am more likely to be listening to Liability on Melodrama. 

 

What is your favorite part about the LGBTQ+ community? 

My first instinct was to say resiliency, however, I hesitate because resiliency forms through adversity. I hate the expectation that those who face oppression and hardship have to be resilient. We should be allowed to be soft, to be taken care of. So instead of resiliency I will say joy. Yes the joy in the face of hardship, but also the joy fostered by kinship, art, and unique individuality. My wish is that this queer joy can exist in a world that does not challenge it. 

 

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

I adore living in Washington, DC and have many favorite spots. I love being able to be in a city and also escape into nature. The U.S. National Arboretum in particular holds a special place in my heart. I try to visit throughout all the seasons. I sit and admire the foliage in autumn and smell the flowers in the spring. I take friends and show them how expansive and peaceful it is. 

 

What is your favorite queer movie?  

Two of my favorite queer movies are But I’m a Cheerleader and Paris is Burning. I love the camp and aesthetic in But I’m a Cheerleader and the queer history and incredible vogueing shown Paris is Burning. 

 

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

Pink! If I was in charge, basically everything would be pink. I can add Pink by Lizzo as a newer music anthem in my life. Barbie core has been fabulous and I will continue to choose everything pink even after it is out of style.

 

Who do you look up to in the queer community?

There are so many historical and current queer activists and icons that I look up to. Two I want to highlight are Audre Lorde and Victoria Cruz. Being exposed to Audre Lorde’s work nearly a decade ago played a foundational role in my feminist and queer identity. Her intersectional approach to confronting injustices is one I have tried to internalize along with her emphasis on love. Victoria Cruz is an LGBTQ+ and anti-violence activist whose entire career has been an inspiration to me. She is well known for organizing alongside iconic activists such as Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. She also served as a Domestic Violence Counselor and Advocate at the NYC Anti-Violence Project. I can only hope to emulate the work she’s done with LGBTQ+ trauma survivors. 

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.

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.