Jacksonville Community Advocates

Recently, we had the pleasure of featuring Maria Mark, City Commissioner in Atlantic Beach, as a Straight Ally after she advocated for the passage of a comprehensive Human Rights Ordinance in her city.  During the photo shoot, she was joined by several advocates who have joined the growing chorus, calling for the passage of a comprehensive Human Rights Ordinance in our city.

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A little more about each of the people you see in the image above (from left to right, top to bottom):

Ramon Day, Community Leader
Ramon Day is a fifth generation Floridian and native of Madison, Florida.  He grew up in Jacksonville and graduated from Jacksonville University, then went on to earn his MBA in Finance from the University of Florida.  His unique career experience spans the private and public sectors.  Currently, he works an account manager at Allstate Insurance.  Ramon learned the details of government and the highest standards of public service when he served as Chief of Staff to the late Congressman Charles E. Bennett in Washington, D.C. Ramon and his wife, Mary, have four wonderful children. They are well established residents of the Southside and are active members of Blessed Trinity Catholic Church. Ramon believes God created all of us equality and supports an HRO.

Maria Mark, City Commissioner of Atlantic Beach
Maria has been a community advocate for many years and was elected to the City of Atlantic Beach City Commission in 2011.  She helped draft and sponsor the Human Rights Ordinance that recently passed (4-0) on August 11, 2014. She was awarded the “2014 Voice for Equality Award” at Equality Florida’s Jacksonville Annual Gala for her dedication to equal rights for the LGBT community in Atlantic Beach.  Read more about Maria HERE.

Ju’Coby Pittman, President and CEO of the Clara White Mission
Ju’Coby is a native Jacksonville-resident who graduated from Englewood High School, and then went on to pursue the Edward Waters College C.L.I.M.B. Program.  Additionally, she was honored with a Doctorate of Humane Letters by Jones College.  As the CEO/President of the Clara White Mission, her primary focus of feeding and meeting the needs of Jacksonville’s homeless population has been advanced by the implementation of a “Drop-in Day Center”, providing customized services for veterans. Community engagement has kept her at the forefront of Jacksonville’s progression as Ju’Coby has served on the transition team(s) of Jacksonville’s three prior mayor’s: John Delaney, John Peyton, and current Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown. Ju’Coby believes that an HRO makes for more inclusion in our community.

Jesse Wilson, Advocate, Author and Motivational Speaker
Jesse is a Jacksonville native who has become a major advocate for issues surrounding children, LGBT equality, civic engagement, downtown development, and human rights. A survivor of the state’s foster care system, Jesse has spent an immeasurable amount of time in Tallahassee rallying the charge for laws related to children and has been influential in assuring many great pieces of legislation become law. He is also an avid writer and was first published at the age of 16 in his book of poetry titled The Storm Rolling In . He currently works for Family Support Services of North Florida and is a contributing writer for Void Magazine. Jesse was recently named the #1 writer in the 904 by Void Magazine, a top 30 Under 30 by Buzz Magazine, and the Best Local Author & Best Local Righteous Crusader by Folio Weekly readers.  Check out his video statement HERE!

Jacksonville Community Allies

More and more often we are contacted by allies of the LGBT Community who are eager to add their voice to the growing chorus for equality in Jacksonville.  Together, we continue to share a desire for the passage of a comprehensive Human Rights Ordinance in our city.

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A little more about each of the people you see in the image above (from left to right, top to bottom):

Glorious Johnson, Educator
Glorious is a native of Jacksonville, FL and has always called it home. She taught many years in the Duval County School System. This was a fantastic opportunity for her to help the children of the Jacksonville community learn and grow. For over 35 years, she taught children and adults reading, writing, mathematics, and science in her home.  When she left teaching, she received a very treasured award: an Honorary Life Membership from the Florida Parent/Teacher Association.  Glorious believes that everyone should have the right to live and work and be who they are.

Jason Tetlak, Artist/Designer
Jason has spent most of my life studying art and design, and currently works at a non-profit that focuses on bringing a variety of quality cultural experiences to town.  He has also had the opportunity to teach elementary school students in the Duval Public School System.  Jason and his family live in Murray Hill and enjoy spending time in the area’s many parks and playgrounds, and love discovering new local restaurants. He believes that as allies we have the obligation to ascertain that our LGBT community has equal rights and equal opportunity to make Jacksonville a better place for all.  Find out WHY!

Niki  Brunson, Business Owner/Urban Core
As a small business owner in the urban core, Niki has been featured in the Folio Weekly for her standout restaurant.  She explains why she is thankful to call Jacksonville home and believes that all human beings are born with rights.  The city is responsible for protecting those rights for all its citizens. View her statement HERE!

James Eddy, Community Activist
Originally from West Virginia, James moved to Jacksonville after graduated from highs school.  He has worked for the Jacksonville Zoo for over 14-years.  He actively volunteers for many organizations, including being a member of the Jacksonville Coalition for Equality since 2012.  As a member of the LGBT Community, James is eager to see Jacksonville pass a fully comprehensive Human Rights Ordinance to protect all of its citizens’ rights for equal opportunity under the law.  He is also the first openly gay candidate to run for City Council in this year’s election.  Congratulations, James!

Mark Kerrin, Adjunct Professor
Mark is an Adjunct Professor at Edward Waters College teaching Emergency Management, Forensic, Terrorism & Homeland Security. He was also Rosa Parks National Security Director for nearly 12-years.  He has authored several books dedicated to the knowledge that he received from Parks. This gave him a view into the need for universal human rights through her eyes and Mark believes, in the 21st-Century, it is time for Jacksonville to pass a comprehensive Human Rights Ordinance. View his statement NOW!

Perfil Aliado: Luis “Louie” López

Luis "Louie" Lopez, Jockey retirado y buen padre
Luis “Louie” Lopez, Jockey retirado y buen padre

Mi nombre es Louie López. Soy oriundo de Los Ángeles y en mi juventud era un Jockey. Dado a la constante hambre que pase para mantener mi bajo peso, decidí dejar mi profesión Hípica y me aliste en la Marina, lo cual me trajo a Jacksonville. En el 1990 me casé por primera vez y ese matrimonio nos produjo dos maravillosos hijos, John David y Curren. Quería una hembra pero fui bendecido con mis dos varones.

Cuando John tenia doce años, estábamos convencidos de que el podía ser gay y fuimos concientes de dejar a John saber que nosotros lo aceptábamos, si ese era el hecho. John nunca me dijo que era gay, cosa que siempre me intrigó ya que yo había visto fotos de el en ropas de mujer y con maquillaje. Dado mi poca comprensión, John finalmente me confesó y cuando lo hizo, se presento como una joven transexual que prefería que la llamáramos Nina. En los ojos de Nina (John), ella no era gay, si no ¡alguien que se sentía, y se veía a si misma como una hembra desde su infancia!

He visto personalmente el rechazo, prejuicio y pullas que mi hija ha sufrido. Como padre, puedo ser lastimado por otros, pero en el caso de mis hijos, me corta como una navaja cada vez que pasa. La ironía es que siempre quería una hija y un hijo y al fin de cuentas, es lo que he recibido.

Mi segunda esposa, Susana , y yo continuaremos amando y apoyando nuestros hijos adultos y ayudando a Nina en el curso que ella ha determinado.

Mi esperanza es que las personas tomen el tiempo para comprender y no juzgar porque todo no es siempre como parece ser.

Maria Mark, City Commissioner of Atlantic Beach

Congratulations to our newest ally, Maria Mark! Maria helped draft and sponsor the Human Rights Ordinance that recently passed (4-0) on August 11, 2014. Maria was recently awarded the “Voice for Equality Award” at Equality Florida’s Jacksonville Annual Gala for her dedication to equal rights for the LGBT community in Atlantic Beach.

To read more about Maria, visit: http://wp.me/p3PnKk-kd

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Rabbi Lief, The Temple in Jacksonville

Rabbi Lief is the Senior Rabbi at The Temple in Jacksonville. He grew up in Wheeling, West Virginia where he was active in all sports, music, and was an Eagle Scout. He attended Princeton University, where he swam on the varsity squad, competed on the debate team, and graduated with a degree in History. Learn more: http://wp.me/p3PnKk-jV

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We are straight allies coming out in support of our LGBT community and the Jacksonville Human Rights Ordinance.

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