Meet the founder and co-creator of We Are Straight Allies: Chevara Orrin.
Chevara Orrin, Chief Creative Catalyst, is a community advocate extraordinaire and soul connector. Her commitment to LGBT equality stems from a long history of civil rights and social justice activism.
“Our tiny legs carried us to the Lorraine Motel (then an hourly-rate, seedy franchise with a dilapidated swimming pool near the balcony where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr was assassinated). We sang freedom songs and listened to civil-rights giants Andrew Young, John Lewis, Ralph David Abernathy and Jesse Jackson recount the horrors and joys of the movement. Stories of The Poor People’s Campaign, the resistance against the war in Vietnam, and the Memphis Sanitation Strike resonated with me and inspired me to become a freedom fighter.”
Chevara Orrin has worked in the profit and higher education sectors for more than 15 years and has served as a community advocate for more than 30 years. Her earliest memory of activism was as a three-year old, sleeping in concrete building tubes across the street from the White House in support of the Bangladesh Liberation War and protesting famine in Pakistan. She is a creative consultant, writer and public speaker whose topics range from Networking & Personal Brand Development to Social Justice to Personal Empowerment. Chevara is also founder and co-creator of #WHITEANDWOKE, an initiative designed to raise awareness among and create action to dismantle institutional racism.
She is the daughter of a white, Jewish civil & human rights, social justice, and women’s liberation activist and father who was a “fiery top lieutenant of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and a force behind many of the pivotal civil rights campaigns of the 1960s, including serving as the initiator, strategist and executor of The Birmingham “Children’s Crusade.”
It is this legacy and her own personal journey of survivorship (poverty, domestic violence, incest, single motherhood) that have led Chevara to champion for the marginalized – those often invisible among us.
As a “soul connector,” Chevara’s personal mission is to engage and mobilize communities around issues of race, gender, justice, health, education and economic disparity. Because of her tireless efforts, Chevara has been recognized by the White House and Human Rights Campaign as an emerging leader, advocate and ally for the LGBT community. She also has become an outspoken advocate for raising awareness of, and helping to eradicate sexual violence against women and girls. She has received numerous awards and recognition for her unwavering commitment to community.
Chevara has been an official Floridian since August 2012. Although new to Jacksonville, she has woven her thread into the fabric of the community and is actively involved with numerous nonprofit organizations. She was recently appointed to serve as a member of the WJCT board of trustees, the Cultural Service Grants Council and the Times-Union Editorial Board.
Chevara has been featured in articles in The Washington Post, Atlanta-Journal Constitution, Winston-Salem Chronicle, Yes! Weekly, skirt! Magazine, Winston-Salem Journal, Winston-Salem Monthly, The Community Arts Café, Forsyth Family, NC Signature, Arbus Magazine, Jacksonville Free Press and John Blake’s powerful, painful glimpse into the heart and soul of the Freedom Movement of the Sixties through the lens of some of its children, Children of the Movement.
Chevara was born in Washington, DC and raised in Memphis, TN. She obtained a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from the University of Memphis. Chevara is married to Marlon Hubbard and has two sons, Michael and William, and a cat named Nala.