AIDS United announces the second cohort of the Fund for Resilience, Equity and Engagement and Transgender Leadership Initiative Leadership Development Program

AIDS United is proud to announce the second cohort of the Fund for Resilience, Equity and Engagement and Transgender Leadership Initiative Leadership Development Program.

“The Fund for Resilience, Equity and Engagement recognizes the need for an investment in the continuum of leadership in communities most impacted by HIV/AIDS,” said Dwyane Williams, senior program manager of FREE. “We are excited to grow with and share in knowledge with these leaders as they add greater levels to the heights of their skills, capacities and the road to ending the HIV epidemic.”

“Congratulations again to everyone in this year’s cohort,” said Jade Lenore LeDuff, senior program manager of FREE. “We are journeying to ending the HIV epidemic and shifting culture for the greater good of human beings. I am genuinely excited about this leadership development program’s opportunity for our TGNC community, specifically in this iteration, trans women of color. The women of this year’s cohort represent a vast array of backgrounds, gifts and experience in the public health landscape. I am honored to be a part of their journey as we collectively grow, amplify and build existing skills and gifts to create meaningful and impactful change in our community.”

These leaders were chosen through AIDS United’s grantee partner organizations as representatives of transgender and gender-nonconforming people and Black gay, bisexual, queer and same-gender-loving men — populations in our communities most disproportionately impacted by HIV. These leaders were selected through AIDS United’s grantee partners who prioritize transgender and gender-nonconforming people, as well as Black gay, bisexual, queer and same-gender-loving men.

The cohort is comprised of 17 emerging leaders from organizations across the United States, including Abounding Prosperity Inc.; AIDS Healthcare Foundation; House of Tulip; In the Meantime Men’s Group; the Knights & Orchids Society; Nationz Foundation; the Normal Anomaly Initiative; North Carolina AIDS Action Network; Prevention Access Campaign; Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS, Trans-Individuals Living Their Truth Inc.; and Us Helping Us, People into Living.

The year-long initiative provides opportunities for emerging leaders to invest in their community, personal development and professional goals through interactive learning, mentorship and the implementation of a service-learning project to address a gap within their respective local communities.

Transgender Strategy Center and Mobilizing Our Brothers Initiative will work in concert with the FREE team to provide a tailored curriculum for each cohort that will educate leaders on various topics related to program development and management, grant writing, branding and more. Additionally, leaders will engage in other opportunities intended to enhance their personal development in areas such as self care and exploring personal strengths.

Meet the transgender women of color 2021 cohort:

  • Desiree Pittman; she/her/hers; Selma, Alabama
  • Gia Reyes; she/her/hers; Dallas, Texas
  • Joelle Bayaa-Uzuri Espeut; she/her/hers; Houston, Texas
  • Kayla Finn; she/her/hers; Richmond, Virginia
  • Milan Nicole Sherry; she/her/hers; New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Naomi Green, MBA; she/her/hers; Dallas, Texas
  • Naomi Antrelle-Jones; she/her/hers; Phoenix, Arizona
  • Simaya Charlize-Theresa Turner; she/her/hers; Atlanta, Georgia

Meet the Black gay, bisexual, queer and same-gender-loving men 2021 cohort:

  • Darrell Cottingham; he/him/his; Washington, D.C.
  • Deondre Moore; he/him/his; Brooklyn, New York
  • De’Shea Coney; he/him/his; Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Dwane Rhodes; he/him/his; Los Angeles, California
  • Greg Wilson; he/him/his; Los Angeles, California
  • Javontae Wilson; he/him/his; Los Angeles, California
  • Jordan J. Edwards; he/him/his; Houston, Texas
  • Mario Gray; he/him/his; Washington, D.C.
  • Tobias Smith; he/him/his; Dallas, Texas

Stay tuned to the AIDS United blog as we share the stories of these incredible leaders and the work that they do to give concrete, much-needed support to communities too often under-resourced in the fight to end the HIV epidemic in the United States.