Ada Conde es abogada y activista de la comunidad LGBT de Puerto Rico. Logró la aprobación de la Ley Contra los Crímenes de Odio, la derogación del delito de sodomía consentida en Puerto Rico con una campaña de medios y cabildeo, redactora de los proyectos de ley para prohibir el discrimen por orientación sexual e identidad de género.
Fue quien demandó con su esposa Ivonne Álvarez al gobierno de Puerto Rico para que se reconociera su matrimonio. Organizó la histórica Boda Masiva de parejas del mismo sexo con celebrantes de casi todas las denominaciones religiosas y humanistas.
Andy Praschak lived in Puerto Rico from 1985 to 2007 where he directed the legal team of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He dedicated much of his professional career to developing and implementing effective environmental justice principles to empower economically disadvantaged communities in Puerto Rico.
In 1997, Andy was one of the founders and President of the “Fundación de Derechos Humanos,” the first organization formed exclusively to give a political voice to the LGBTT community in Puerto Rico by lobbying for positive legislation as well as working to develop and support openly gay and gay-supportive candidates for office.
Andy was the first openly gay person to write a weekly column about LGBTT issues in a Puerto Rico daily newspaper, “The San Juan Star.” His columns provoked public conversations on issues important to the LGBTT community -- issues that were rarely covered by the island media.
Since 2007, Andy has lived in NYC where he continues to organize around political issues with the LGBTT communities in NY and Puerto Rico, with a personal commitment to understanding and supporting the struggles of Boricuas in the Diaspora.
Angel Morales is a professor of Theater and Coordinator of the Visual and Performing Arts Unit of the Humanities Department at Hostos Community College. He received his B.A. from the University of the Sacred Heart in Puerto Rico, and his M.A. in Educational Theatre from NYU. He is currently the Artistic Director of the Hostos Repertory Company, for which he has directed numerous plays. He has received several awards including the HOLA and ACE for the productions of Borinquen vive en El Barrio by Tere Martinez, and You Always Forget Something (Siempre se olvida algo) by Virgilio Piñera.
He has also been invited to perform with his students at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, Region I, with the production of boom by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, and in the International Collegiate Theater Festival at the Fringe in Edinburgh, Scotland with the production of Rough Magic by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. Recently, he directed the NY premieres of Song of Extinction by EM Lewis and Henry’s Law by Stacie Lents.
Angel Santini Palos has dedicated his life to the preservation, enhancement and promotion of Puerto Rican culture, traditions, and history. For the past two decades, he has been a volunteer for Comité Noviembre and has served as an Ambassador for Puerto Rico, a program of the Puerto Rico Convention Bureau.
He is currently the special event planner for the Institute for the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Elderly, where he assists in the planning of activities and events for the elderly, including the annual cultural trip to Puerto Rico. Mr. Santini Palos is clear about is mission in life – to preserve, promote, educate and live our Puerto Rican heritage every day. He does this without any expectation of recognition or praise.
Barbra Herr is an actress, writer, and a veteran transgender artist and activist. She is currently performing “I’m Still Herr: A One Woman Show,” which tells the true tale of Bobby Hernandez, a little bullied Boricua boy from the Bronx who grew up to be the woman of her own dreams. This alternately hilarious/heart-tugging story of struggle and survival (from Stonewall to DOMA) is told through the memories and musical stylings of the transgender artist/activist recently seen in HBO's "Habla: Men.” Make no mistake, Barbra is very proud of her hard-earned “Drag Queen” status, but she actually broke into show business as an 8-year-old nightclub singer, circa 1963.
Armed with a beloved Puerto Rican “stage mom” who refused to let her son bow to the prejudices of the time, Bobby Hernandez fought his way on to stages from the Bronx to San Juan at a time when being effeminate just wasn’t mainstream. But his voice was silenced at 17 when Mama Mona died in 1973. Soon after, Bobby Herr, a gay underground alter ego, was born after she returned to her native Puerto Rico for 16 years.
De la O
Bianey Garcia De la O came to the United States at age 15, escaping trans-phobia back in Mexico. At 19 she began attending transgender support groups and worked with community leaders to educate them on STD prevention. After an unfair and discriminatory experience from the police with community members, Bianey joined Make the Road NY as a way to combat discrimination, build leadership, and educate LGBT community members about their rights.
Bianey uses her story as fuel to combat discrimination and support community members as one of the LGBT Organizers at Make the Road NY. Her leadership mantra is: “I didn't Choose to be an Activist, injustice pushed me.”
Reverend Carmen Hernández
Reverend Carmen Hernández was born in Río Piedras, Puerto Rico. At 6 months old she moved to New York and has lived here ever since. She is the CEO/Founder/Outreach/Pastor, Stratford Community Services, Inc. (Giving Kids/Youth a Chance). As an Advocate/Activist in the Soundview section of the Bronx for the past 30 years, Rev. Carmen has helped empower at risk inner city kids.
Through her efforts and a list of activities that specifically target youth, Rev. Carmen has proved to be a vital part of the South East Bronx community. She is also the President/Founder of the 1st NYC LGBT Chamber of Commerce, Inc.
Carmen Yulín Cruz
Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto is the Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico. She graduated Cum Laude from Boston University with a degree in Human Resources Management and Political Science, and earned a Master’s degree from Carnegie Mellon University. She has managed and directed human resources for companies in the private sector such as Colgate-Palmolive, Banco Popular de Puerto Rico, Cellular One (now AT&T), and Scotiabank. In the public service sector she worked in the Department of Treasury of the United States of America.
In 1992, after living in the United States for 12 years, she moved back to Puerto Rico to enter the world of politics. First, she became an advisor to Mayor Sila Calderón. She later became advisor to the President of the House of Representatives, Carlos Vizcarrondo Irizarry. In 2003 she became a member of the Institute of Political Education of the Popular Democratic Party.
That same year she was elected President for the National Organization of Popular Women (OMP in Spanish). In 2005, Governor Aníbal Acevedo Vilá named her to the Comission for the Reorganization of San Juan. In 2008 the people of Puerto Rico elected her Representative-at-Large. She was elected mayor of San Juan in 2012.
Doreen Bermudez currently serves as the Interim Site Manager for the SAGE Center Harlem and Pride Coordinator. She has also served as National Training Coordinator of the Historical National Resource Center on LGBT Aging. In this position she facilitated trainings nationwide on LGBT aging to mainstream and LGBT aging network service providers. Previously she was SAGE’s full time trainer in the Advocacy and Training Department where she organized and presented on HIV and Aging issues in New York City and LGBT Case Management Cultural Competency since 2006.
Doreen has been instrumental in the organizational efforts to provide a voice to LGBT older adults through her trainings at the Department for the Aging in NYC and most recently at the Philadelphia Aging Corporation.
Prior to coming to SAGE, Doreen worked as a consultant for the Puerto Rican Family Institute Inc. on HIV Services for teenagers. This initiative brought the NYC Department of Education to pay close attention to health education in various high schools in NYC. She is a graduate of SUNY New Paltz in Education and Latin American Studies.
Edwin Meléndez is a Professor of Urban Affairs and Planning at Hunter College and the Director of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies. He has conducted considerable research in the areas of Latino studies, economic development, labor markets, and poverty. In addition to numerous scientific papers and other publications, he is the co-editor of Latinos in a Changing Society (Praeger, 2007), and the author or editor of ten books including Communities and Workforce Development (Upjohn Institute: 2004). For over more than twenty years as principal investigator, he has managed over 40 research, outreach or demonstration projects and supervised or collaborated with over 60 researchers in projects that resulted in several edited books, special issues of academic journals, and other publications.
Originally from Puerto Rico, Dr. Meléndez came to the United States in 1978 after receiving a bachelor's degree from the University of Puerto Rico. He earned a master's degree in economics from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and in 1985 received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He began his teaching career at Fordham University in 1984, teaching economics and Puerto Rican studies.
Erika Gisela Abad Merced, PhD
Erika Gisela Abad Merced, PhD is a Queer Latina poet, born and raised in Chicago. She's performed at Dirty Queer, a sex/queer positive open-mic in Portland, Oregon. Currently, she works as Chicago-based oral historian for the Center for Puerto Rican Studies.
She was recently featured at Rape Victims' Advocate Breaking the Silence open mic and at Surviving the Mic's March reading. In the fall, she will begin teaching at the University of Nevada Las Vegas Interdisciplinary Studies and Gender Studies Programs. You can follow her @lionwanderer531.
Evelyn Rivera was born in Naguabo, Puerto Rico but was raised in New York City. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services from the Metropolitan College of New York founded by Audrey Cohen.
In 2008, she received her Masters of Social Work from the Wurzweiller School of Social Work at Yeshiva University. She has been working with the Latino Commission on Aids for one year. She has worked in the field of HIV/AIDS for the past twenty years.
Ivonne Álvarez – Woman, Puertorriqueña, Lesbian. Senior Accountant and Finance professional. With experience as financial officer and senior executive in several recognized public audit and private firms and actually financial consultant. 16 years relationship and 12 years of marriage with LGBT activist Ada Conde and main plaintiff with her wife Ada Conde in the Puerto Rico Marriage Equality legal case.
Member of Populares LGBT, the organization that represents LGBT community in the Partido Popular Democrático, Delegate for the Democratic Party and Vice President of Fundación de Derechos Humanos de Puerto Rico.
Jimmy Lopez-Acosta is an out & proud Puerto Rican gay man born in Brooklyn and raised in Brooklyn, Utuado and northern New Jersey.
Jimmy has more than 30 years’ experience in the not-for-profit/community organizing/ social services field. He has worked in youth/young adult ministry, HIV/STI prevention education, community organizing, leadership development and currently works providing services to undocumented immigrants living with AIDS.
He has worked at Gay Men’s Health Crisis, the NYC LGBT Anti-Violence Project, Body Positive, Latino Gay Men of NY Inc., Latino Commission on AIDS, The Audre Lorde Project and the Roman Catholic Church in the Diocese of Paterson, NJ. He is now the Community Resources Specialist in the Housing Program at Latino Pride Center/ Hispanic AIDS Forum, Inc. East Harlem office.
He was in the first officially recognized Latino/a LGBT Contingent in the Puerto Rican Day Parade in 1989. It was composed of members from Las Buenas Amigas/Latina Lesbians, HUGL (Hispanic Gays & Lesbians), Boricua Lesbian & Gay Forum, Metropolitan Community Church of NY (MCCNY) and many supporters from the People of Color Steering Committee of the LGBT Community Center. The contingent continued to march for 10 consecutive years.
Jimmy continues to serve his communities (LGBT, Puerto Rican/Latino, People Living with HIV/AIDS, People of Color) through his professional and volunteer work.
Starting her acting career as a child, Johanna Rosaly has enjoyed immense success in her native Puerto Rico and abroad, on stage, radio, in films and TV during her nearly 60 years-long career. She achieved top television ratings for her soap operas, including “Cristina Bazán.” She has also had hit recordings, and a leading role in the 1989 Oscar-nominated movie “Lo que le pasó a Santiago.”
While remaining true to her stage career of over 75 classic and contemporary plays, Ms. Rosaly evolved in her television activities to become a news anchor and talk show host. Since 2013 she has taken a leading role in the struggle for Civil Rights and Equality for the LGBTT sector, lobbying and raising her voice through social and traditional media. Ms. Rosaly lives both in San Juan and New York, and is the proud mother of three and grandmother-to-be of a baby girl due in August.
Jorge Oliver is a Puerto Rican actor, filmmaker and educator. Jorge is the first male filmmaker in the history of Puerto Rican cinema to openly deal with gay images. His films have been screened in festivals around the world. His short ‘Written” won Best Gay & Lesbian Short at the 2001 Latino Film Festival in San Francisco. His feature “Free to Love” won Best Documentary Feature at the 2014 Rincón International Film festival. His documentary short “Pride in Puerto Rico” is distributed by Frameline.
Also a professional actor, Jorge has performed off-Broadway, as well as in regional stages in San Juan, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and Saint Louis. As an actor, Jorge is proud of having worked with some of the major Hispanic theaters in the United States. Jorge is the Chair of the Film/Video department at Pratt Institute in NYC. He holds a BA in Psychology and Zoology from George Washington University, an MA in Media Studies from the New School and an MFA in Cinema from San Francisco State University.
Councilor Jossie Valentin has lived in Massachusetts since 1998. Originally from Puerto Rico, she received her BA in Psychology from the University of Puerto Rico and her MS in Forensic Psychology from American International College in Springfield, MA. She has been a strong advocate for the Latino community, as well as the LGBT community, for many years. She is one of the founding members of the Holyoke GLBTQ Task Force, the group that started the Pride Prom in Holyoke -- a free prom for GLBTQ youth and their allies.
The Pride Prom attracted about 350 youth every year during the 5 years that it was held for the community. She was elected to her first term as Holyoke City Councilor in November 2013 with 74% of the votes. Councilor Valentin is now in her second term after being reelected with 80% of the votes. She lives in Holyoke with her wife Myriam and their 16-year-old daughter Natalia.
Karen Cruz is a Mexican transexual woman, raised in Puebla, Mexico. She studied computer programming in Mexico. In her 11 years living in the USA, she has dedicated herself to supporting and volunteering in various LGBT groups, with special interest to the translatina immigrant population.
Recently she has become the Navigation Specialist for the P4 program at OASIS- the new direct service center from the Latino Commission on AIDS. As such, Karen helps navigate clients to supportive services and linkage to PrEP/PEP. She feels very honored and blessed for this opportunity and hopes to continue to serve her community in the years to come.
Karina Claudio Betancourt
Karina Claudio Betancourt is a Program Officer with the Open Society Foundations and works with the Open Places Initiative, a placed-based initiative in three sites: Buffalo, Puerto Rico, and San Diego. She is a community organizer with experience working/organizing to empower low wage workers, immigrants, LGBTQ individuals and individuals living in the intersection of these identities.
Previously she served as the Senior Director of the Community Engagement Division in the Office of New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. In this capacity, she directed the implementation of a citywide Participatory Budgeting project, as well as the implementation of several pro-LGBTQ rights policies. From 2008 to 2014, she was a staff person at Make the Road New York (MRNY), where she oversaw its LGBTQ Justice Project.
Karina grew up in Puerto Rico, where she attended the University of Puerto Rico, graduating with a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies. She moved to NYC in 2007, where she attended NYU and received a M.A. in Performance Studies.
Puerto-Rican born Karlo is a Celebrity Makeup Artiste, Image-Maker, Blogger, Philanthropist, and Human Rights Activist. Since 1989, after attending Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, Karlo has considered himself a New Yorker. He began his career as a make-up artist for Christian Dior, at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City. He then took leading jobs at Chanel Beauté and Givenchy. In 1992, Karlo landed his first cover for “W” magazine and his career took another direction, toward celebrity, editorial, and televised work.
He has done covers for British and Italian Vogue/Vogue Pelle, Sportswear International, DNR, and W-Men’s Portfolio. He has worked for designer’s-collection-fashion-shows in Milan and Paris, and collaborated with John Leguizamo for his one-man shows. He has traveled to Central and South America training personnel and giving chats about beauty trends for Elizabeth Arden. Karlo’s blog, COMA (Confessions Of A Makeup Artiste), has been chosen as a favorite by Hearst Publications and the New York Daily News.
Karlo’s numerous involvements with LGBT organizations include The Latino Commission on AIDS, where he has headed the celebrity/entertainment committee for its fund raising gala, and Cielo Latino, by enveloping the same high profile celebrities he’s worked with that are eager to educate the world when it comes to HIV/AIDS.
Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes
Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes is Associate Professor of American Culture, Romance Languages and Literatures, and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He received his B.A. from Harvard (1991) and M.A. and Ph.D. from Columbia (1999).
He is author of Queer Ricans: Cultures and Sexualities in the Diaspora (2009), Uñas pintadas de azul/Blue Fingernails (2009), and Abolición del pato (2013). He co-edited an issue of CENTRO Journal on Puerto Rican Queer Sexualities (Spring 2007) and is currently writing on Puerto Rican transgender and drag performance and activism. He performs as Lola von Miramar since 2010.
Leandro E. Rodriguez
Leandro E. Rodriguez was born and raised in Fajardo, PR. He has a BA from the University of Puerto Rico, and an MBA from the University of Phoenix. Dedicating 20 years of his professional carrer to HIV prevention and LGBTQ issues, Leandro created a homegrown intervention called “Construyendo Tu Yo Ideal,” a leadership-development retreat for young gay, bi and transgender people that addresses self-esteem, homophobia, transphobia and internalized homophobia.
This intervention has been funded by the New York State Department of Health to reach 1,500 LGBT young people in the next five years. As Director of Programs for the Latino Commission on AIDS, the agency where he has worked for the last 10 years, Leandro spearheaded the launch of OASIS: The Latino LGBTS Wellness Center. OASIS is the Latino Commission’s premier service center for direct services, reaching young the LGBTS population, through HIV testing, STD screening, PrEP/PEP linkages, group level interventions, and community mobilization startregies.
Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez is President of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade. She is also Senior Vice President, Corporate Relations & Government Affairs for EmblemHealth. There she is responsible for relationships with key government, community and industry stakeholders, better positioning EmblemHealth for new growth opportunities.
Previously, Lorraine was the Executive Vice President for Multicultural Markets & Engagement at AARP. At AARP, she ensured that the interests of multicultural audiences age 50-plus were integrated into everything AARP does.
Prior to AARP, Lorraine was New York's 65th Secretary of State, and the first Hispanic to serve in that role. She also served as Vice President of Government and Public Affairs at Cablevision Systems Corporation. Her distinguished career in the nonprofit, government and corporate sectors extends more than 30 years.
Her work in the nonprofit sector has gained her national recognition and numerous awards. She served as President of the Hispanic Federation, a nonprofit network of 92 Latino health and human service agency in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Lorraine has extensive experience organizing major community and media partnerships to leverage civic participation and increase educational campaigns. In the early 1990s, she served as Executive Director of ASPIRA of New York, the nation's oldest and largest nonprofit Latino youth leadership development and education advocacy agency.
Ms. Cortés-Vázquez obtained her undergraduate degree at Hunter College, and earned a master’s degree from New York University Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. She is a Toll Fellow, having completed the national leadership program for elected and appointed officials. She earned certificates from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and from Columbia University’s School of Non-Profit Management.
Melissa Mark-Viverito currently serves as the Speaker of the New York City Council, the first Puerto Rican and Latina to hold a citywide elected position. She represents the 8th District, which includes El Barrio/East Harlem and the South Bronx.
Speaker Mark-Viverito was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She worked for over a decade in local activism, nonprofit organizations and labor before being elected to the City Council in 2005, as the first Puerto Rican woman and Latina to represent her district in the Council.
In 2009, she was elected to her second term in the City Council, during which she served as Chair of the Committee on Parks and Recreation, the founding Co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus and as a member of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus. In 2011, she was one of four Council Members to pioneer the first-ever Participatory Budgeting process in New York City.
She is a graduate of Columbia College at Columbia University and Baruch College, City University of New York, where she studied Public Administration through the National Urban Fellows Program.
Miguel Juan Concepcion Blanco
Miguel Juan Concepción Blanco: De Cataño, Puerto Rico. Tiene un Bachillerato en Humanidades concentración en Drama y Educación de la Universidad de Puerto Rico. Es profesor de oratoria y relaciones interpersonales en Hostos Community College y NYC College of Technology. Emigra a Nueva York en 1989 y obtiene una Maestría en Historia y Crítica del Teatro en Brooklyn College, CUNY. Colaboró como maestro artista en la Escuela Superior del Sur del Bronx alternando en producciones teatrales como actor en el teatro latino de NYC. Ha colaborado con varias compañías y grupos teatrales: Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre, actor en “Palabra de Mujer” (2012), Hostos Repertory, en “Metamorphosis”, 2011.
En 2008 dirige y produce Three Poe Pantomime Performances, un mimo drama basado en “The Raven”, “La caída de la casa Usher” y “El corazón delator”. En Puerto Rico fue miembro de las compañías Músico Teatral Cimarrón y Corral de la Cruz. Su cuento corto “La corona compartida” es parte de: “Los otros cuerpos, Antología de literatura gay de Puerto Rico y su diáspora” publicada en el 2006. Escribe teatro, cuentos y poesía y está felizmente casado con Richard Reynolds por los últimos 18 años.
Mikeebel Figueroa is a native of Jayuya, Puerto Rico and has lived in New York City since 2014. Since 2012, Mikeebel has been working in different non-profit organizations, like PR CoNCRA, GoodWill Industries and Callen Lorde Community Health Center, advocating for safe environments for the LGBTQ community and the right to live with dignity and without fear from stigma, discrimination and violence.
His bi-cultural background and focus on community collaboration has led him to a number of volunteer opportunities and community leadership roles.
Nelson Rafael Roman
Holyoke City Councilman Nelson Rafael Roman is a community activist, motivational speaker, and a philanthropist. He sits on the Board of Directors for the Imperial Court of Western Mass (Founder/President), Holyoke PRIDE, the Puerto Rican Cultural Center of Springfield, the AIDS Foundation of Western Mass, and Springfield MASS PRIDE.
Nelson currently works as the Associate Director of Operations for LightHouse Holyoke, and is attending Springfield Technical Community College, in pursuit of his degree in Business Administration.
Nitza Tufiño, born in 1949 in Mexico City, raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, is a recognized muralist, public artist and printmaker with studios in Manhattan and South Orange, New Jersey.
She obtained her B.F.A at the Academia de San Carlos from the Universidad Autonoma in Mexico City and holds an M.S. in Urban Planning from Hunter College, CUNY.
She has studios in Manhattan and South Orange, NJ and is presently Associate Director of Taller Boricua, and Founding Director and Master Printer of the Rafael Tufiño Printmaking Workship (RTPW) located at Taller Boricua.
As a community activist and art educator she has helped found established community-based organizations and art institutions in
New York City such as Taller Boricua, Loisaida, Inc. and El Museo del Barrio; served as a consultant on Puerto Rican and Caribbean Art at the Brooklyn Museum and the Metropolitan Museum.
As a muralist, she has been commissioned by the East 3rd Street Music School in Manhattan, New York Metropolitan Transit Authority, New York City Health and Hospital Corporations, La Guardia Community College, Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut and the Hospital for Special Care to develop and create murals for their institutions. She also developed and established the Muralism Art Program at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Connecticut.
Orlando "El Fenómeno" Cruz
Orlando "El Fenómeno" Cruz is the first openly gay professional boxer in the World. As an amateur, he represented Puerto Rico at the 2000 Olympic Games in Australia. Cruz made his professional debut on December 15, 2000, against Alfredo Valdez in Puerto Rico. He was undefeated until 2009. Cruz is currently ranked at No. 3 among featherweights by the World Boxing Organization.
On October 4, 2012, Cruz became the first boxer to come out as gay while still active professionally, stating that "I have and will always be a proud Puerto Rican. I have always been and always will be a proud gay man." He won his first fight since coming out in October 2012. He was among the first class of inductees into the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame on August 2, 2013.
Paxx Caraballo Moll
Paxx Caraballo Moll not a millenial. art school drop-out. cook for life. genderqueer nonbinary human being.
A parent of 2 cats, 2 dogs and 1 turtle. loved by the most incredible woman. trying to make the world better by cooking local and sustainable food.
Pedro Julio Serrano
Pedro Julio Serrano, a well-known and respected Latino/a LGBT movement leader. In 1998, he became the first openly gay and hiv+ political candidate in the history of Puerto Rico to run for office. With studies in communications from the University of Puerto Rico, he worked for the Women's Affairs Commission, the Puerto Rican Health Department and as communications manager for LLEGO. In 1998, he became the political and media director for the Human Rights Foundation of Puerto Rico. Later, he worked as Voices of Equality coordinator for Freedom to Marry and most recently, he was the Director of Public and Media Relations for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
In 2003, Serrano also founded Puerto Rico Para Tod@s (Puerto Rico for All), an organization that advocates for LGBT equality and social justice in Puerto Rico. He is the former co-chair of the Board of Directors of Unid@s, the National Latina/o Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Human Rights Organization. Serrano has been a member of many advisory boards, including the Commission Against Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity of the Puerto Rican Bar Association, the Puerto Rican Initiative to Develop Empowerment (PRIDE), the Puerto Rican Civil Rights Commission and the Puerto Rican ACLU chapter.
Serrano, who now works as a senior advisor to New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito, has been an outspoken advocate for LGBT and human rights, participating in thousands of interviews and public events throughout his more than 20-year-old career as a human rights activist. He has received numerous awards for his activism and he has been chosen one of the 25 most influential LGBT Latinos. He was also named "Orgullo Puertorriqueño" at this year's National Puerto Rican Day Parade in NYC.
He lives by Gandhi's words: "Be the change that you want to see in the world."
Pedro Muñiz comes from a family devoted to the entertainment business in Puerto Rico. Muñiz has being a part of every aspect of TV, theater, radio and movie production. He was General Manager of WLUZ-TV and the producer of the 1980’s popular sitcom Maripili.
In 1989 he produced Lo que le pasó a Santiago, Puerto Rico’s only Oscar-nominated film. He trascended business and has dedicated his life to human and civil rights struggles. He served a jail sentence while helping to liberate Vieques, is active in the Free Oscar López Movement and has worked in solidarity with anti-violence and Gay Rights struggles.
Rafaela Luz “Ronnie” Billini
Rafaela Luz “Ronnie” Billini is a Hunter College Alumni and an American Airlines retiree; Post-Retirement: Private Sector: Consultant, R. Billini Strategies & Solutions; Real Estate Broker, Puerto Rico; Bank Executive, Puerto Rico; Government: Public Sector: Economic Development Policy Analyst & Interagency and Community Representative, PR State Senate & State Assembly; Council Aide (Land Use & Zoning, Community Board Liaison), NYC Council; Program Support Specialist, NJ DHS/DFD; Not-for Profit: Executive Producer, The Art Settlers of New York, Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN) Cable; Director of Education, AIDS Center of Queens County (ACQC); Coordinator “De Mujer a Mujer” Theatre Project, Hispanic AIDS Forum (HAF); 50 years of activism from the 60’s to the present, on the Vietnam War , housing, AIDS epidemic , LGBT rights in NY, NJ and PR.
Past Board Membership: Luchando Unidos Contra El SIDA (LUCES), People with AIDS Coalition (PWAC), Astraea Lesbian Action Foundation, National Stonewall Democrats (NSD), Gay and Lesbian Independent Democrats (GLID), Co-Founder Board Member of Fundación de Derechos Humanos (FDH). Co-President of Democrats for Social Justice of Puerto Rico, Garden State Equality (GSE).
Reverend Dr. Samuel Cruz
Reverend Dr. Samuel Cruz is Assistant Professor of Church and Society at Union Theological Seminary, NYC. Rev. Dr. Cruz has previously taught at Rutgers, the State University, New Brunswick, N.J., in the Latino and Hispanic Caribbean Studies Department. He is the author of Masked Africanisms: Puerto Rican Pentecostalism (2005), and of Christianity and Culture in the City: A Postcolonial Approach (2013).
He has published columns on civil rights for El Diario and The New York Daily News, most recently advocating for humane immigration policies, marriage equality, opposing “Stop and Frisk” police practices and critiquing the prison industrial complex. Dr. Cruz has been recently featured in the Stop and Frisk docu-series: “The Pastor”. Rev. Cruz is Senior Pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Brooklyn, NY.
Bárbara Santiago Solla
Bárbara Santiago Solla, better know as Soraya, is a legendary activist. She was the first Puerto Rican to undergo a gender confirmation surgery. She was also the first to be awarded a birth certificate with her correct gender identity in the 1970s and be allowed to marry by a Puerto Rico's attorney general decision, almost 35 years ago.
She was the first openly trans person to run for office in Puerto Rico, the first LGBT candidate to do so inside the New Progressive Party. She studied Political Science at the University of Puerto Rico and has been the subject of three documentaries, including the award-winning Mala Mala. She is the author of her first book "Hecha a Mano" and on her way of publishing the second one.
Dr. Rosalina Ramos
Dr. Rosalina Ramos, affectionately known as "Talin," has, for all of her adult life, been both a healer and a fighter. She attended Medical School in Barcelona and returned to her island, Puerto Rico, to practice her healing as an anesthesiologist where her skills were most needed. Having come out of the closet at a very young age in the 1950's --- which was unheard of at that time --- Talin has been an out, proud, loud gay woman long before the word "gay" was invented.
During the gay 80's and 90's in Puerto Rico, Talin was one of the leaders of the LGBT revolution — organizing, testifying, suing, protesting, lobbying, politicking, yelling, and all the other actions that were necessary. Her heroism and vigilance in the struggle against injustice gained her the unofficial title of “Godmother of the Puerto Rico Gay Community.” From San Juan to Boquerón to New York City to Vieques, Talin has raised hell wherever she goes and wherever she needs to raise hell to defend her conviction for social justice.
In 1996, she sued the Puerto Rico Police Department in federal court for openly discriminating against gays and lesbians AND WON! She was one of the founders of Campamento Luisa Guadalupe in Vieques, and two years ago she opened the Campamento de Colores in Vieques to provide a safe space for the gay and lesbian community in the struggle for Peace for Vieques.
Vanessa Victoria was raised in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, where she struggled trying to find herself in a culturally male- dominated society. In March 2006 she moved to New York, and in July of that year she started her transition. In 2007 she began her career as a model and entertainer. She is an ambassador & founding member of the Transgender Women of Color Collective. She was cast in the Trans Women Theater Troupe play “In My Skin,” that debuted in November 2013 and was later made into a documentary.
She currently works for the New York City Anti-Violence Project as a community-based counselor, helping victims of violence who identify as LGBTQ and are HIV-positive. In March 2015 she was part of the White House’s Trans Women of Color-Women's History month briefing. In June 2015 she was given a citation of merit at the Fifth Annual Bronx Borough President & Allies LGBTQ Pride Awards. She was also recently named one of 13 Trans Latin@s, who are changing the world. In January 2016 she went back home to Puerto Rico and was the keynote speaker for the first Transgender Town Hall.
Dr. Wilhelmina Perry
Dr. Wilhelmina Perry holds a masters in social work and a doctorate in human behavior and leadership. She has been a social work faculty member and administrator of not- for- profit institutions and a community educator. In 2002, she became a member of The Riverside Church and shortly thereafter she was elected the convener of Maranatha, the LGBT ministry. Dr. Perry was a co-founder and Vice President of the Interfaith Task Force for Homeless LGBT Youth. Under the work of the Task Force, three shelters were opened in local churches. She has continued her advocacy in behalf of homeless gay youth.
Dr. Perry has been an advocate for the acceptance and inclusion of LGBT same-gender loving people in the Black community. This work has included her position as a marriage equality ambassador for Empire State Pride. She was invited to organize the Round Table People of Color under Empire State Pride Agenda. In 2010, this group became an independent organization, LGBT Faith Leaders of African Descent. Dr. Perry was a co-founder and currently serves as Administrative Coordinator.
Dr. Perry was honored in 2013 with an award from Harlem Pride. She has received recognition from Empire State Pride Agenda and GLAAD. She became a Purpose Prize Fellow in 2014. In 2014, she also received the Lifetime Achievement Award from LGBT Kwanzaa Community of NYC, Inc. This year ,she will receive an award from Griot Circle, Inc. , the oldest LGBT organization serving Black seniors. She will be represented in the magazine, GO , as it recognizes 100 Lesbians worthy of knowing.
Dr. Perry has contributed many articles on LGBT youth, same-gender families, “coming out”, attitudes towards LGBT people, LGBT seniors, Black Lives Matters and the role of seniors. These articles have appeared in Caribbean Life, The Daily News, The Amsterdam News, The Beacon, Huffington Post , Huff Post and The Positive Community. Dr. Perry has been the long term partner of Dr. Antonia Pantoja.