Brian Watson resides and works in Washington, D.C.’s Deanwood section of Ward 7. Since relocating to D.C. Brian has been a vocal and visible activist in the areas of social justice, youth, LGBT issues, and HIV/AIDS for nearly a decade. Brian is former Secretary and President of the D.C. Coalition of Black Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Men and Women, the oldest Black GLBT group in the United States. Brian presently serves as Director of Programs at Transgender Health Empowerment, Inc in Washington, D.C. where has been employed for the last 6 years. In September 2008 he started the Wanda Alston House the 1st and only GLBTQ youth homeless transitional program in the DC, MD, VA area. He has worked with various target populations on various topics such including religion, sexual minority youth, HIV positive individuals, foster children, recently incarcerated, substance abuse users, transgenders and transgender youth. Brian has been a trainer educating homeless programs, police officers, foster care agencies, and department of corrections on working with GLBT individuals and cultural competency. He has experience working in health education, HIV and HEP C counseling, testing and referral, case management, cancer in African Americans, housing coordination, and conducting formative research. Brian was appointed by Mayor Anthony Williams and Mayor Adrian Fenty to sit on boards such as the Regional Health Services HIV/AIDS Planning Council, LGBT Executive Advisory Board, and by Mayor Vincent Gray to sit on the Interagency Council on Homelessness. He is also a member of the DC HIV Planning Group and Metropolitan DC Police Critical Incidents Team. Brian is frequently called on to travel across the United States to speak on HIV/AIDS in youth, the African American GLBT community, and the black church. Brian was named a Capital Pride Hero in 2007, and received a Distinguished Service Award from GLAA in 2008 as well as American Red Cross volunteer of the year award. Has been featured in such publications as the Metro Weekly, Washington Blade, Black Pride Guide, Washington Post, and GayAgenda.com. He has appeared on the Kojo Nnamdi Show, WPFW?s ?Inside Out? radio show, Fox 5 Morning News and In the Life. He is also a contributing writer for SWERV Magazine.
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As an active athlete in the international wrestling community and Group leader for Rainbow youth alliance Akil is unlike many of his counter parts. His focus in life is making a change in the way LGBT youth are seen and the life that athletes are sometimes seen to be forced into to make. Akil works as a youth advocate when he is not on the wrestling mats trainning for the Olympics.
Alexandra is a Policy Advocate at Protect Democracy, where she leads the National Election Advocacy Team and coordinates the activities of the National Task Force on Election Crises, a cross-ideological group of over 50 civil society leaders who worked to ensure free and fair elections in 2020 and 2022, and now seek to prevent election crises in 2024 and beyond. Previously, Alexandra was a career national security professional for 13 years. Inspired by living in NYC as a law student through the 9/11 attacks, Alexandra started her career as an intelligence analyst in 2004. In 2006 she was the first employee ever to complete a gender transition while working at the Office of Naval Intelligence. She ultimately led the Intelligence Community analytic effort to disrupt the proliferation of WMD by sea, and supported many successful U.S. policy initiatives while working at ONI and at the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence. After leaving government in 2017, Alexandra was the first openly transgender candidate to run for Congress from Massachusetts.
Alexandra enjoys providing her perspective on leadership and communication as a transgender woman, mentoring younger LGBT and national security audiences, and discussing the stakes of the U.S. and global effort against authoritarianism. She has presented on leadership, career development, LGBT and transgender issues for private corporate clients as well as the Out and Equal Executive Leadership Forum, Leadership Summit For Women in National Security, the Rainbow Families conference, Columbia University SIPA, Rutgers University, Yale University, and Capital Trans Pride.
Alexandra is a board member of GLBTQ Advocates and Defenders (GLAD), a member of the Truman National Security Project Defense Council, and previously served on the board of Whitman Walker Health and the Steering Committee of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition. Alexandra was named by Out in National Security and New America as an Out Leader in 2021, and her writings have been published in the Washington Post, The Hill, the Yale Journal of International Affairs, and the Boston Globe. Alexandra is a graduate of Brown University with an A.B. inInternational Relations, and received her law degree from Brooklyn Law School.
Born and raised in the nation?s capital, Ben Privot unavoidably discovered his interest in social issues at an early age. Throughout his educational career, Ben had always found school to be a great place to start making civically-minded strides. The unique social atmosphere unifying a classroom education with extracurricular activities provides students a continual praxis where they can find success upon many platforms. So, he put the formula to the test. Ben majored in Women and Gender Studies and one extracurricular dedication after another eventually culminated in one of his greatest achievements: an award winning workshop which gets students excited about exploring consent. Now Ben is going back to school: this time to impact schools the way they have impacted him.
Dr. Cheryl Healton is an academic, educator, researcher, and public health visionary. As the founding president and CEO of Legacy, a national public health foundation devoted to keeping teens from smoking and helping all smokers quit, Dr. Healton has been the driving force behind effective and award-winning national campaigns that help save lives. Her passion for tobacco prevention and cessation is deeply personal. She lost her mother and other loved ones to tobacco-related disease, and she herself waged a 25-year battle ? ultimately successful ? to overcome her own addiction to nicotine. The award-winning truth? youth-smoking prevention campaign is just one example of Dr. Healton?s public health successes. Eighty percent of smokers start smoking before age 18, and choosing to smoke is often a mark of rebellion as teens grow into adulthood. Recognizing this distinction within behavioral research, Dr. Healton challenged conventional thinking about tobacco prevention by changing its approach: instead of chastising young people, truth? focused on providing information to teens by tapping into their naturally rebellious feelings, enabling them to make their own informed choices about smoking. As the campaign celebrates its tenth anniversary in 2010, a growing body of research has validated the campaign?s approach; a 2009 study found that during the first four years of the campaign, truth? was found to be directly responsible keeping 450,000 from starting to smoke. In 2007, Dr. Healton led the call to action demanding a new cigarette brand be taken off the market. Camel No. 9 featured slick packaging marketed toward young women and was advertised in magazines popular with the same demographic. Dr. Healton rallied more than 45 public health groups to jointly call for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company to remove its Camel No. 9 cigarettes from stores nationwide. As a result of these efforts, R.J. Reynolds announced its decision in late 2007 to discontinue print advertising of its cigarette brands in 2008. The fight continues, as Dr. Healton and others continue to monitor industry marketing activities closely with a focus on youth, and young women. She has also been a leading advocate for removing gratuitous smoking in Hollywood films. Dr. Healton has also worked to realize her vision of a national public-private partnership to help smokers quit. For the past three years, a number of state and national organizations have aligned to create a unified voice in educating Americans about smoking cessation through a national quit smoking campaign called EX, which first launched in 2008. EX is designed to help smokers ?re-learn? life without cigarettes, taking an innovative approach to help the 46 million Americans who smoke to quit. The program includes a multi-media advertising effort, a Web site with a quit smoking community feature and grassroots effort support implemented by member groups and states. Currently, more than 220,000 smokers have signed up to Become an EX. Dr. Healton frequently appears in the media, conducts guest lectures, and speaks at conferences and events ? all to further educate Americans about the debilitating toll tobacco use continues to take on our society, killing more than 400,000 Americans each year.
Elise Roy lost her hearing at the age of 10 and doctors have never been able to explain why. Determined to continue to live the normal life that she had already begun, she refused to lower herself to the new sub-par standards that society began placing on her. Teaching herself using only her textbooks, Elise was accepted to Brown University. While at Brown, she was recognized as one of the nation’s elite athletes. At 24 she became one of just 44 deaf lawyers in the United States. At 25 she became an advocate working at the United Nations, where she helped to author the first international Human Rights treaty of the 21st century. Since then, she has traveled the world working with diverse groups, speaking, motivating, and advocating on their behalf. She has had her personal essays published in Curve magazine, in Eyes of Desire 2: a Deaf GLBT Reader, and has spoken at Pride events.
Jay Dunning is a, 23 year old, women?s studies major at Montgomery College. Born and raised in South Africa and currently residing in DC. She hopes her unique experiences and growing up LGBT in Africa will further enable her to help young LGBT people better understand and love themselves through poetry, spoken word and short stories. Jay promotes the importance of having someone to talk to, who understands young LGBT people?s fears and concerns. She also promotes sex positive education. Helping young people embrace and enjoy their sexuality without guilt and embarrassment, while educating them on the importance of safe sex habits. She caters best to high school aged audiences and young adults, looking for relatable, real life guidance on coming out, relationships, bullying, sex positivity, feminine hygiene, gender identity, sexual orientation and generally surviving the most awkward years of your life. Jay aims to keep her talks informative but light and casual. Creating a free flowing safe place for youth to talk about issues they may not feel comfortable discussing with other adults in their lives.
I am an experienced writer and public speaker currently obtaining my Master of Public Administration at American University. I am an occasional blogger for the Raspberry Mousse website and have also written for the Family Tree LGBT Community Newspaper in Tallahassee, Florida. Much as lesbians, gays, and transgender people have worked hard to educate the LGBT community and the wider public about their issues and concerns, I strongly believe that bisexual people must also step up to the plate and do so as well. I am interested in speaking to organizations and gatherings of all sorts about bisexual issues, LGBT history, rural issues, political issues, youth issues, and issues pertinent to women.
Kevin Nunley serves as the Senior Director for Internships and Student Services at The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars. He has spent over 15 years in the Higher Education arena working with college students in advising and counseling roles. His areas of emphasis are on GLBT Identity Development, Coming Out Process, Leadership Development, and other topics of Diversity.
Hello, my name is Sara Cahanin. I am a licensed therapist in Maryland and currently, I work at Cheltenham Youth Facility in the school as a therapist. I also have a private practice. In addition to my work as a therapist, I have been a high school English teacher and also, have taught writing at a community college and private college in New York State. In 2006, I started a non-profit organization called, Martin Lyon Lesbian Support Services in Ithaca, New York. It was very successful and met the unmet needs of the lesbian community. We had planned to open it up to all GLBT people, but due to the economy the organization ceased operations. I feel that I have a lot to offer the GLBT community as a speaker and look forward to speaking soon to our community. Thanks for reading!
For more information, please visit my website at http://www.saracahanin.com.
Dr. Sean Robinson is a Graduate Program Director and Professor in the Dept. of Advanced Studies, Leadership & Policy in the School of Education at Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD. His primary teaching and research areas include leadership and teaching for social justice, youth identity development, leadership development, organizational behavior, leadership in colleges and universities, and research methods. Sean has over 25 years experience in a multitude of educational settings at both the high school and university level. He has published over two dozen articles and book chapters, and presented over 50 presentations (locally, nationally, and internationally) focusing on LGBTQ identity development, media/pop culture’s impact on youth, and mentoring youth and young adults. In addition to his faculty role, Sean maintains a private coaching and consulting practice, which focuses on organizational development, strategic planning, human resource initiatives, and developing leaders. His clients are primarily entrepreneurs, non-profits organizations, and small businesses. Sean received his PhD in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies and his MBA in Management & Human Resources from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In addition, he holds a Masters of Education in Counseling Psychology from the College of William & Mary. Sean’s BA is in Psychology from the University of Virginia.