FIERCE Announces New Co-Directors!
FIERCE Welcomes New Leadership & Gears Up For Growth Ahead
Community FYIs | FIERCE | Monday June 13, 2011 6:34
“After an internal assessment, we made an organizational decision to move back to a Co-Director model, a structure we had from 2006 to 2007,” stated Yasmeen Perez, FIERCE’s outgoing Interim Director. “We are excited to move forward with a shared leadership model that will allow for more sustainability and provide greater capacity to the organization.”
Krystal Portalatin, a FIERCE co-founder and current Associate Director, will be transitioning into one of the Co-Director positions. “I am excited to take on this new leadership role and invest a new level of support to the organization that has shaped me so much over the past 11 years,” stated Portalatin. “I am humbled and grateful to be able to support FIERCE members, staff and board in fighting for our campaigns, expanding our national program and continuing to develop LGBTQ youth of color into leaders of New York City and beyond."
Krystal Portalatin with Bran Fenner and Jesse Ehrensaft-Hawley, former FIERCE Directors, at FIERCE's 10th Anniversary Gayla Celebration!
Krystal joined FIERCE’s staff in 2008 as Operations Manager, and went on to develop our first-ever Wellness & Youth Development program. In August 2010, Krystal was appointed to Associate Director, managing our financial management systems, supervising key program staff, and coordinating organizational development processes. Over the past six months, Krystal has taken on significant leadership responsibilities including fundraising support, supervising our Lead Organizer, and being a guiding force in our campaigns. We are thrilled to welcome Krystal into her new role!
Dulani, FIERCE's New Co-Director!
FIERCE is also excited to welcome Jai Dulani as FIERCE’s other incoming Co-Director. Dulani, a long-time FIERCE ally, brings over 11 years of experience working at the intersections of LGBTQ, Youth, Immigrant Justice and Anti-Violence Movements. He has worked with young people in NYC facilitating youth leadership programs with an anti-oppression framework at organizations including Global Action Project, Sadie Nash Leadership Institute, and South Asian Youth Action. For the past four years, he has been instrumental in the growth of SupaFriends, an LGBTQ youth media program at Global Action Project.
Dulani has worked with South Asian, Muslim and Arab communities to organize against post 9-11 state violence. At Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, he organized free legal clinics and translated legal advice to hundreds of Muslim men being targeted by the Special Registration program. At DRUM: Desis Rising Up and Moving, he provided administrative and development support for organizing against detentions and deportations. Dulani is also the Co-Editor of the anthology, The Revolution Starts At Home: Confronting Intimate Violence in Activist Communities and has worked as a consultant, trainer, and collaborator in local and national transformative justice efforts.
“I am excited to transition into my role at FIERCE and begin the process of learning from the amazing work of the FIERCE staff and membership,” stated Dulani. “As someone who is deeply connected to different communities of color and queer communities in New York, I am thrilled to join an organization that has transformed the landscape of organizing among queer youth of color in the City and nationally. At this critical juncture of increased policing in New York and the expansion of criminalization and deportation efforts in communities of color, I look forward to building with FIERCE and continuing to both resist the violence in our communities and transform new spaces for our futures.”
“The FIERCE Board is delighted that Dulani will be joining the staff this July,” stated Raquel Lavina, FIERCE Board Co-Chair. “With Dulani and Krystal’s leadership, we are confident that FIERCE will continue being a home base for LGBTQ youth of color organizers in New York City effectively fighting against policing and gentrification in the West Village and ensuring that LGBTQ youth have access to safe public space 24 hours a day.”
FIERCE HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE YEAR!!!
2011 has already been a very productive year for FIERCE:
- In March, our Campaign Steering Committee (CSC) established a collaboration with the Urban Justice Center (UJC) to continue work on FIERCE's Our S.P.O.T Campaign.
With support from UJC, FIERCE members have been canvassing the West Village for abandoned or underused buildings that may be viable sites for a 24 hour LGBTQ youth center.
- In April, the CSC organized a weekend retreat for FIERCE members that included intensive planning and visioning for the next year of our campaigns, as well as trainings on power mapping and NYC's political landscape.
- In May, FIERCE was honored to be awarded the North Star's Fredrick Douglass Award. This award was given in recognition of our work to create equality, economic justice and peace.
- Our Leadership Development Program, the Education for Liberation Project, graduated 13 participants of our ELP level 1 program. We are also supporting several new internships and fellowships, including two Media interns, a Campaign Fellow, a Resource Organizing Fellow, and an Administrative Assistant.
- In May, we released a press release and new campaign demands in response to increased policing and escalated targeting of LGBTQ youth of color in the village.
- This month, we will kick off a series of 6 free events for LGBTQ youth at the pier, including our annual mini-ball, movie screenings, and artistic and wellness events specifically for youth - all victories of our Safe Space Saves Lives Campaign. For more info on our event calendar click HERE.
We're continuing to expand our reach and build with a diverse group of youth organizers in NYC and other parts of country.
- At the 2011 Creating Change Conference in February, FIERCE organized a workshop for 15 LGBTQ youth of color on community organizing.
- In March we rocked the Left Forum, coordinating the first-ever Youth of Color Organizing Panel with our comrades at DRUM (Desis Rising Up and Moving), Make the Road's PRYDE and Youth Power, and Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice.
- This month, FIERCE is heading to the Allied Media Conference, where we have been co-coordinating the Trans & Queer Youth workshop track with Branching Seeds of Resistance from the Colorado Anti-Violence Program!
- Our National Program is working on the release of our highly anticipated Youth Organizing Toolkit and planning for our 2nd National LGBTQ youth of color Organizing Summit in 2012. We are also excited to welcome a new National Program Director, Richard Morgan.
In closing, we want to say how much we appreciate the support and encouragement we’ve received during our interim period. This support enabled us to complete our search and hire process while maintaining the strength of our campaigns and supporting our active membership who have been hard at work these last 6 months.
“It’s been an honor to work with FIERCE during this transition and provide support for new leadership changes,” commented Yasmeen Perez, FIERCE’s Interim Director will be transitioning out at the end of July. “With our programs strong and our membership having all hands on deck, it is a wonderful time to welcome new and vibrant leadership to FIERCE. We are excited for the growth ahead!”