GSA Network is thrilled to introduce the five new National Association of GSA Networks Steering Committee members who will bring a variety of experience, energy and fresh ideas to the national GSA movement. This year’s Steering Committee members are from all corners and middle of the country, including Colorado, Pennsylvania, Arizona, California and New York.
Louie Ortiz is the Education Manager at the Mazzoni Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he runs the Ally Safe Schools Program. The Ally Safe Schools Program coordinates the Philadelphia-area network of Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs), offering resources, technical assistance, and programmatic support to the 46 schools currently participating in the program.
“Joining this National Steering Committee will allow me to share the great work that has been and continues to take place here in Philadelphia, particularly with LGNTW youth of color,” says Louie. “It will also provide me the opportunity to get feed back, share ideals, be inspired and re-ignited by amazing people throughout this country who work to change the way we hear, we feel, and experience the world.”
Matt Cotty is the Safe Schools Coordinator at Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth (LIGALY) in Long Island, New York, where he runs the Safe Schools Initiative. Matt coordinates LIGALY's community education and training services and delivers support and technical assistance to school-based Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) Club through the Long Island GSA Network.
“I am very excited to be a part of the Steering Committee,” says Matt. “I am excited to bring all the great ideas and successes from across the country to my local area on Long Island.”
Zami Tinashe Hyemingway is the Youth Programs Coordinator at Wingspan in Tuscon, Arizona, where he is the Youth Outreach Specialist at the Eon Youth Lounge. There, he works on the iTEAM project, a collaborative project to help LGBTQ and straight allied youth between the ages of 15-23 establish stable housing, receive free counseling from a licensed therapist, and receive comprehensive safer sex information.
“I will be fearless in my opinions, encouraging to those who struggle, and the sprinter for those of you whose feet are ready to fall off, from running this race for so long,” says Zami. “I am willing and ready to be the bridge, even if that bridge is called my back, so that our movement can reach places it’s never reached before."
Daniel Ramos is the Youth Coordinator at One Colorado in Denver, Colorado, where he leads the organization’s youth outreach to build a statewide coalition of LGBT and allied youth.
“I'm thrilled to be a part of the Safe Schools Movement and prepared to dive deeper into the intersections of the Racial and Economic Justice movement in our work,” exclaims Daniel. “As a new statewide network, I'm also excited to bring the experience of building a network to the National Association.”
Amanda Harris is the Northern California Program Coordinator at GSA Network in San Francisco, CA, where she networks and builds the capacity of local GSAs to fight homophobia, transphobia and other oppressions in schools.
“I’m exited to learn about the amazing work that is going on around the country and to build a stronger national GSA movement, from large urban centers to tiny towns across America,” said Amanda. “There are queer and allied youth everywhere, and I look forward to the day when they all have access to a GSA club.”