M. Saida Agostini is a community activist committed to working with diverse communities to effect healing and social change. An experienced program manager and licensed clinician, she has worked with diverse communities around violence, homelessness, healing and social justice for the past decade.
Professionally, she works as a consultant with organizations seeking insight into best practices for developing peer run programming for LGBTQ, youth and homeless populations.
Saida is a 2013 Cave Canem Fellow, and was awarded a 2010 Arts and Change grant from the Leeway Foundation to run a ten week youth led LGBTQ group on the meaning of home. She has an undergraduate degree in Poetry and Urban Studies from the University of Pittsburgh, and holds a masters degree in social work from the University of Pennsylvania. She resides in Washington, D.C.
Karen is a leader and project manager in the public, private and non-profit sectors, assisting clients in achieving their strategic and operational objectives.
The last 15 years have been focused on Information Technology, directing complex projects, delivering training, identifying and documenting business processes, and negotiating.
She is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and an attorney licensed to practice law in Ohio with specialized mediation and collaboration training.
Bill grew up in Memphis, TN where in his early teens, he witnessed much of the civil rights movement, including nonviolent demonstrations and marches led by Dr. King, Rev. James Lawson and his brother Phil and other of his present day heroes.
After graduating from the University of Alabama, he worked in business and marketing in retailing and real estate. Coming out as a 40 year old, he shifted his attention from a traditional business career to a life of service.
Presently, Bill is an active student of Truth principles, active at his Unity church and as a trainer in welcoming diversity and in principles of nonviolence. Bill says one of his greatest Soulforce experiences was early in Soulforce history at the UMC convention in Cleveland, OH in 2000 hearing two of his s/heroes Bob and Jeanie Graetz tell about the “second time their house was firebombed” while living in Montgomery, Alabama.
Christopher Carr is a policy wonk in the areas of defense, science and technology. His unwavering support in the work of intersectional justice has allowed him to trek a path in the difficult areas of equality in the military, nuclear non-proliferation, and diverse representation in STEM fields. With a background in international and security studies, he takes his ethical stances into conversations around tough issues to make sure all voices are included.
In his professional life, he is a program manager with the American Society for Engineering Education where his main projects are with the Office of Naval Research and the National Science Foundation. In this position he travels around the country and abroad monitoring programs and projects in multiple areas of defense and science policy. Additionally, he is an adjunct professor of political science in the Greater DC area.
Previously, Christopher has served as a board member with the National Conference for Community and Justice, Public Achievement, and Kansas City Harmony. He also currently sits on the Alumni Board of the DC Chapter of Pepperdine University. He is a recipient of the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Award from the City of Liberty, Missouri and has received the Bridge Builder Award from the Greater Kansas City Area Mayors’ Prayer Breakfast.
He holds an undergraduate degree in International Relations and History from William Jewell College, a Master of Public Policy degree from Pepperdine University, and a graduate certificate in Arabic from the Arab Academy in Cairo. A Missouri man through and through, Christopher was born in Kansas City, MO and was raised in the rural town of Peculiar, MO. He is currently settled in our nations capital of Washington, D.C.
Ellen Chademana is Soulforce’s newest board member. It’s only through a harrowing struggle as an LGBT activist in her home country of Zimbabwe that she came to be in the United States.
Ellen was an employee of GALZ, Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe, in the capital city of Harare. The LGBT community support center is under constant surveillance and harassment from the regime of Robert Mugabe, the 88 year-old authoritarian president of the southern African country. Mugabe has famously, and repeatedly, called gays and lesbians “worse than pigs and dogs” in various public forums and in the state-controlled media. Because of this official government sanction of hatred of LGBT people, homophobia is rampant in the state and local media and among influential religious leaders in the country.
In May 2010, Ellen and another colleague were arrested at work and were sent to the notorious Harare Central Remand Prison, a rotting jail built to house black prisoners during the country’s days as minority white-governed Rhodesia. There Ellen endured unimaginable abuse at the hands of the local police forces as they tried to force her to reveal names of LGBT clients that GALZ served. Read an account of her living nightmare in the colonial prison >>
Ellen is now working at The Attic, an LGBTQ youth center in Philadelphia. She continues her non-violence work through War Resisters International. Soulforce is proud to have Ellen Chademana as a board member, and as a witness to principles of relentless nonviolent resistance to oppression in the face of brutality and humiliation that most of us in America cannot even imagine.
Maru Gonzalez is a doctoral student in the Social Justice Education program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a former school counselor. Her research interests include school counselor advocacy, bullying, undocumented youth, and queer youth perspectives of school climate.
After attending Soulforce Q-Camp in 2009, she co-founded Georgia Safe Schools Coalition, an organization dedicated to creating safe and affirming school climates for all students.
Maru’s passion for safe schools has taken her from Atlanta to Capitol Hill where she has lobbied members of Congress to vote on behalf of the Safe Schools Improvement Act, the Student Non-Discrimination Act and a resolution for the National Day of Silence. In recognition of her safe schools activism, Maru was invited to the White House LGBT Pride Reception where she had the opportunity to meet President Obama. She is also the recipient of the Champions for Equality Award and was recognized as a Grand Marshall at Atlanta Pride 2010. Most recently, Maru helped secure protections for LGBT youth and faculty in her former school district’s anti-bullying and harassment policy.
She has also collaborated with such organizations as the National Action Network and the Anti-Defamation League to fight oppression at all levels. Maru’s commitment to social change has spawned a passion for politics and youth engagement. She served as Campus Coordinator for Students for Barack Obama and delivered weekly commentary as a Political Contributor for the CNN Newsroom with Rick Sanchez during the 2008 presidential election.
Maru looks forward to growing as an activist and building coalitions that will connect policy, politics, academia and grass roots activism. Marucurrently resides in Amherst, Massachusetts and works at the Stonewall Center. She enjoys hiking, running and playing Scrabble.
David Kim proudly serves as an appointee in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs – the prime hub of U.S. public diplomacy. Prior to joining the State Department, David worked as an associate in the White House Office of Presidential Personnel, assisting with the vetting process for national security appointments throughout the Administration. Prior to that, he served as an intern in the Office of Presidential Correspondence.
David also serves on the board of the Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies (GLIFAA) which represents LGBT personnel and families of State Department employees and all foreign affairs agencies at home and abroad. He is a member of the State Department’s LGBT Task Force, which aims to increase policies that promote human rights for LGBT people around the world.
Originally from Washington State, David is proud to have worked on the campaign to help expand domestic partnership benefits to same-sex couples, and on voter outreach to minority groups in the greater Seattle region. David’s upbringing and faith plays a pivotal role in his commitment to justice and equality.
Judy Osborne is a transgender woman who has been active in the transgender community for more than thirty years. She is past president of The Emerald City in Seattle, a social/support organization for newly-out transgender people, serving on its board for a total of 12 years while promoting the organization’s political outreach.
She also served on the board of Seattle’s Ingersoll Gender Center, which provides facilitated support groups for transgender people and works to connect transgender people and issues with the wider world beyond. Judy wrote a monthly letter acquainting 220 psychologists and educators with transgender issues and people, and for five years during the late 90′s she wrote a monthly column on political issues for Transgender Forum, a national web magazine.
Currently, she speaks to various groups and students interested in transgender issues, and volunteers with a northwest HMO hospice helping people to die well. In her career, Judy was a television broadcasting executive and later owned and operated a popular Seattle sports-themed restaurant. She has been deeply involved with Soulforce since its beginning.
Tynan Power lives in Northampton, MA, and is an author, editor, and communications consultant, as well as a progressive Muslim and interfaith leader.
He is the co-coordinator of the Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity and the founder of Pioneer Valley Progressive Muslims. He is deeply committed to non-sectarian community building and encourages full participation and inclusion of those often traditionally excluded from congregational life and leadership, such as women and LGBTQ individuals.
His writing and expertise cover a range of topics including contemporary Muslim concerns, interfaith understanding, disability rights, sexuality and gender.
Christopher Ramos recently graduated from the New York University School of Law as an AnBryce and McKay Scholar. At NYU, Chris served as an articles editor on the NYU Law Review. He is also a graduate of Pomona College in Claremont, California.
Professionally, Chris will serve as a 2013-2014 law clerk to the Honorable Margo K. Brodie of the Eastern District of New York. Previously, Chris was a 2011 and 2012 summer associate at Davis, Polk, and Wardwell in New York City. Before law school, he worked as a research associate at The Williams Institute, an LGBT law & policy think-tank based out of the UCLA School of Law.
Chris has published reports on socio-economic factors in the LGBT community, as well as articles on racial residential segregation, and the First Amendment.
Kevin Trimell Jones
Kevin Trimell Jones is a public health advocate who combines his passions for history, urban communities and social justice to promote dialogue and change. For the past ten years, he has organized around community and public health issues, and has worked with various individuals, communities and organizations locally and abroad.
Professionally, he serves as a behavioral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania’s HIV/AIDS Prevention Research Division where he designs recruitment and retention strategies for clinical HIV vaccine trials. Additionally, Kevin is a national trainer with the Gay Men’s Health Leadership Academy, a co-founder of the Black Gay Men’s Leadership Council and the founder of the Black LGBT Archivists Society of Philadelphia, an organization that strives to provide opportunities for creating, documenting, preserving and exhibiting Philadelphia’s Black LGBT history.
He holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and Masters-level graduate degrees from the University of Massachusetts — Amherst and the University of Pennsylvania. Kevin was born in Saginaw, MI, grew up in Detroit, MI and currently resides in Philadelphia, PA.
Chuck Phelan is a charter member of Soulforce and has served on its board of directors since 2000.
Chuck additionally serves on the board of directors of Founders Metropolitan Community Church-Los Angeles and is an active member of the National Gay Pilots Association.
He is also a founder and managing partner of National TeleConsultants, a consulting, engineering design and systems integration firm serving the media and entertainment industry. He lives with his husband, Steven McIntyre, in Los Angeles, where they both are active in justice activism.