Kendra R. Johnson, Little Rock, AR
Kendra R. Johnson gives new meaning to South-South relations. A native of Little Rock, Arkansas , she she travelled to Sao Paulo, Brazil as an exchange student during her junior year at Spelman College. The trip broadened her politics, made her a citizen of the world and gave her a second home. After living and working in Brazil for 14 years as a writer, editor and translator, Kendra returned to Little Rock to pursue a master’s in public administration and a graduate certificate in nonprofit management. A lifelong volunteer, she been a peace activist, organized the first lesbian/bi-sexual support group at Spelman College and volunteered communications services for Brazil’s first historically black college, among other things. She is currently working as the community outreach coordinator for Brothas & Sistas Living With Affected By, a HIV/AIDS prevention and community building organization working with LGBT people of color and allies in Arkansas. Kendra enjoys her family, travelling, cinema, good wine and hearty laughter.
Ada Smith is a queer Appalachian from and currently living in Whitesburg, KY. She is the Program Coordinator at Appalshop’s Appalachian Media Institute, which trains young people from eastern Kentucky on how to use media to address the critical issues in their communities. She is also a founding member of the only youth-led, Appalachian regional network-the STAY Project.
Stephanie Guilloud, Project South
Stephanie Guilloud is the Co-Director of Project South: Institute for the Elimination of Poverty & Genocide based in Atlanta, Georgia. Originally from Houston, Texas with roots in Alabama, Stephanie has served on the board of Southerners On New Ground (SONG) since 2005. Stephanie is an organizer with over 15 years of experience and leadership in global justice work and community organizing and has developed skills for movement building including facilitation, writing, and strategy development. At Project South, Stephanie directs the Southeast regional programs including the Building A Movement (BAM) Institute, regional organizing drives, and has been key in developing the Peoples Movement Assembly process in conjunction with the PMA Working Group of the United States Social Forum.
New Orleans Parents’ Guide to Public Schools to help families navigate rapidly changing public schools in New Orleans and founded the New Orleans Parents’ Organizing Network to support parent organizing. She was project manager for the New Orleans Network, an information sharing and collaboration hub for grassroots organizations in post-Katrina New Orleans, and covered education for The New Orleans Times Picayune for five years. She is originally from Guthrie, Oklahoma and has lived in New Orleans since 2000.
Roberto Tijerina is a queer Latino first-generation child of immigrants, keeper of the heart-space, and closet diva. Since becoming politicized in his early adolescence around language as a tool of power and his emerging queerness, Roberto has worked as an activist – first in Chicago and now in the South – with his three mainstays being LGBT, immigrant, and disability rights. His experience includes working for Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, supporting diverse LGBT communities around civil rights issues. He coordinated the Highlander Center’s Multilingual Capacity Building Program for four years and the language access for the US Social Forum in 2010. He has worked for many years as a freelance interpreter and interpreter trainer. In addition to English, he is fluent in Spanish and American Sign Language. Throughout his activist career, he has maintained close ties to the immigrant community in which he was raised, working on issues of literacy, second-language learning, and immigrant rights. He holds a special place in his heart for queer folks who have been cast out of their families in the name of a Christian god.
Paris Hatcher, SPARK! Reproductive Justice Now
Paris is a passionate, radical Black queer feminist activist dedicated to working for justice and liberation. As a life long Southerner, Paris has been organizing for over 10 years, on the community, campus, and international level. Her activism is rooted in an intersectional approach which validates the lived experience of individuals and communities and works to challenge all systemic oppression. Paris’ activist interest focuses on gender liberation, in particular movements, such as reproductive justice, gender and racial justice and equity, ending sexual violence, LGBTQ communities of color, the South, and research that explores historical legacy as a motivator for current social movements. She has her Master’s in Africana Women’s Studies. Paris is a Board member of SONG(Southerners On New Ground), the Advisory Board for the Groundswell Fund, and a member of the Spoke N Heart Bike Collective.
Malachi Larrabee-Garza is a San Francisco born, mixed race queer who has wanted to change the world for as long as s/he can remember. Malachi is the former Training and Technical Assistance Manager at the W. Haywood Burns Institute (BI), and currently the Executive Director of the Community Justice Network for Youth, a national network focused on Stoping the Rail to Jail. Through this position Malachi also works with juvenile justice system stakeholders and community members to divert youth away from detention and into community based alternatives. Before coming to the BI Malachi served as the Advanced Political Education Coordinator at the School of Unity and Liberation (2002-2007) and a board member for the Transgender and Intersexed Justice Project. Malachi is currently active in organizations serving low-income queer and transgender formally or currently incarcerated people and does free/low cost consulting for broke organizations who are changing the world.