The Agenda

Victory Institute announces its inaugural class of the Victory Empowerment Fellowship

The Victory Institute is excited to announce the inaugural class of the Victory Empowerment Fellowship.
This May, 10 LGBTQ leaders of color and transgender leaders will join a strong cohort of movement leaders from across the country to expand their campaign skills and policymaking power.
The fellowship consists of two programs provided by the Victory Institute – the Candidate & Campaign Training and the International LGBTQ Leadership Conference – and a year-long mentorship program.
“It is clear that LGBTQ people face barriers to serving in public office and for LGBTQ people of color and transgender people the bar is even higher,” said Aisha Moodie-Mills, CEO and President of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute. “The Victory Empowerment Fellowship will inspire and train a new generation of diverse LGBTQ people to seek public leadership roles and change the face of politics.”
The 2015 Victory Empowerment Fellowship inaugural cohort:
Bré Campbell is a Transgender Research Assistant for the University of Michigan’s SexLab and the Testing Lab Coordinator and HIV Prevention Specialist for Wayne State University School of Medicine’s Horizons Project. She is also the Executive Director of the Trans Sistah’s of Color Project. Bré serves on the steering committee member of the Detroit Stigma Index and is a research consultant with Positively Trans (T+), a project of the Transgender Law Center.
Phillipe Cunningham is a Residency in Social Enterprise Fellow through the New Sector Alliance and a Public Policy Fellow through the Amherst Wilder Foundation. He also serves on the City of Minneapolis’ Youth Violence Prevention Executive Committee. Previously, Phillipe taught special education in Chicago Public Schools for 3 years as a member of  the Chicago Teachers Union. He is a graduate of DePaul University with a degree in Chinese Studies.
Ashlee Davis is the Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Director of the National LGBTQ Rural Summit Series. Before joining USDA, she served in the White House as the Staff Assistant to the Special Assistant to the President. Her previous experience includes working for Third Way and The National Gay & Lesbian Task Force.  A Nashville native, Ashlee holds a J.D. from Howard University School of Law and a B.A. in Politics and Philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh.
Justine Gonzalez is a Board Member on the City of West Hollywood’s Transgender Advisory Board. Most recently, Justine served as a Field Organizer with the Los Angeles LGBTQ Center. Her previous experience also includes working for Los Angeles Mayors Antonio Villaraigosa and Eric Garcetti in government affairs and LGBTQ community liaison roles. Justine is studying Gender, Ethnicity and Multicultural Studies at Pasadena City College, and lives in Echo Park with her daughter Cecilia.
Jesús Pérez is a staffer for the Manhattan Borough President assisting communities on the East side of Manhattan on an array of neighborhood issues and works on LGBTQ matters across the Borough. He was appointed to his local Community Board in East Harlem in 2013. Jesús has also worked for the French-American Chamber of Commerce and the U.N. office of AARP. He holds degrees from the University of Houston and Hunter College.
Ace Portis is the Major Gifts Officer at the National Center for Lesbian Rights. Ace brings several years of fundraising, project management, & event management experience to her work overseeing both the Major Gifts & Individual Giving programs. In 2014, she was named by The National Black Justice Coalition as a 100 Black LGBTQ/SGL Emerging Leaders to Watch. A recent Bay Area transplant with strong Alabama roots, she has dedicated her life to education, social justice, & intersectional equality.
Luis Rivera is the Vice President of the LGBTQ Legal Affairs Association and the General Secretary at Students Council at the law school at the Inter American University of Puerto Rico. He is the Media & Communications Director at the Rainbow Pride Coalition and the Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean for the International Pride Organizers. Luis has also served as a local elections coordinator and on the campaign of San Juan’s first openly LGBTQ elected official.
Robert Salcido is a Field Organizer for Equality Texas. Robert serves on the executive team for Pride Center San Antonio and the San Antonio LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce. He is a founding member and current president of Orgullo de San Antonio LGBTQ LULAC Council 22198, and also serves on the leadership team of Community Alliance for a United San Antonio (CAUSA). In 2014, Robert was selected to serve on interim Mayor Taylor’s LGBTQ advisory team. He attended West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas.
Mia Satya is a San Francisco-based advocate with over a decade experience specializing in youth empowerment, economic justice, housing, and LGBTQ liberation. Mia has served on 10 committees in 5 City departments and led a youth engagement strategy that secured over $150 million a year in services for children. As a San Francisco Youth Commissioner, Mia worked to secure Free Muni for 40,000 low-income youth and co-created a landmark LGBTQ diversity training for 9,000 City employees.
Andrea Zekis is a cartographer, activist and journalist living in Little Rock, Arkansas. Andrea is a co-founder and Executive Director of the Arkansas Transgender Equality Coalition, a consultant to Human Rights Campaign Arkansas, and an Arkansas state employee. Her work campaigning for ENDA and Keep Fayetteville Fair, sending 14 Arkansans to Washington for Trans Lobby Day, and advising Little Rock Police’s transgender interaction policy earned her an Arkansas Times’ Arkansas Visionary award in 2014. Andrea leads a statewide project empowering transgender people in conducting their own health research and another developing statewide legal name and gender change services.
Interested in applying to the Victory Empowerment Program next year? Sign up here!