highly engaging and inspirational LGBTQIA+ empowerment centers & safe spaces saves lives and creates leaders
Safe Space Creator, LGBTQIA+ Rights Advocate & Queer LatinX Voice
As a native from Newark, I began my search for a safe space as a twelve-year-old kid after a life-changing encounter acting as a caretaker for my aunt Naomi, who was dying of AIDS.
I was born in Newark, New Jersey, and raised in the Central Ward on 7th Street in a 6- family house where I spent my early childhood with all of my aunts, uncles, and cousins, your typical large Puerto Rican family.
At nine, we began a new chapter where my mom moved my twin brother & me into the Prince and Spruce Street Public Housing Projects on the South Ward, where I attended Quitman Street Elementary School and adjusted to a world I had never known existed.
At twelve, due to a continued increase in gang violence and targeted bullying, we moved out the projects and into Newark's North Ward, aka "Little Puerto Rico," where I attended Rafael Hernandez Elementary & Barringer High School. I proudly live in the same community to date with my partner and our two, four-legged children Duke & Duchess of Forest Hills.
I am super proud of Newark and all its amazing history, people, and "Brick City" lessons that helped shape who I am today.
The experience of living in Three of the Four Wards has not only enriched the lens through which I see life but why I greatly appreciate the multi-layers of cultures that make up any one community or city.
I first got involved in LGBTQIA+ activism and worked with at-risk LGBTQIA+ youth at 16 years
old and never looked back. I have proudly dedicated over 21 amazing years to creating LGBTQIA+ safe spaces and advancing the health equality and social justice initiatives of Black & Brown Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender (LGBTQIA+) and other marginalized communities affected by HIV/AIDS and its related health, social and economics disparities.
My professional experience lies extensively in HIV prevention programming, LGBTQIA+ Public Health, safe space design, community engagement, digital service design, advocacy, non-profit administration, leadership development, contract management, community research, and LGBTQIA+ organizational development.
I have a passion for mentoring, building highly effective teams, and working with other amazing change agents in and outside of the LGBTQIA+ social movement. I love the process of taking unsafe spaces and turning them on its head to be examples of safety meccas in our community.
"I believe highly effective programming coupled with highly engaging and inspirational LGBTQIA+ Empowerment Centers & Safe Spaces saves lives and creates leaders".
With my talented team of superhero experts, we build safe spaces with years of uniquely informed experiences. And we lead on the foundations of facts, truths & the expertise of the talent, experiences, and voices at the table. I often present & publish my findings on local, state, and national levels. And have been honored to represent the LGBTQIA+ community on Capital Hill DC, State Department DC, World Monetary Fund DC, and the United Nations NYC.
When I take my moments to pause, I love to travel, read self-help books, and spend time with my friends and family. I travel to all corners in my journey to build human connections, discover life, and learn from all the life lessons that present themselves.
I proudly serve as an LGBTQIA+ Commissioner for Newark. I am currently publishing my first book:
OUT OF SPACE: Creating Safe Spaces In Unlikely Places.