Tag Archives: Jacksonville HRO

Ally Profile: Tanya Powers

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Tanya Powers is a Senior Vice President, Division Sales Manager for the Georgia North Florida Division. In this role, Mrs. Powers is responsible for driving sales strategy, training and sales management effectiveness for the division. She is based in Jacksonville, Florida.  She believes that everyone has the right to be treated equally and fairly.

Mrs. Powers joined SunTrust in as a part time teller her last year of college in 1992. A 22-year veteran Tanya has had various positions within the bank; most recently she spent 12 years as an Area Manager managing the 25 banking centers within the market. In this role, Mrs. Powers focused on integrating the company’s business and sales strategy as well as achievement of revenue goals.

Mrs. Powers earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Florida. She is a member of the Board of Trustees for St. Johns Country Day School.

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Ally Profile: Pastor Reginald Gundy

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Born in Jacksonville, Pastor Gundy is a graduate of Troy State University with a BS Degree and hold two Masters Degrees, Masters of Arts in Pastoral Ministries and Master of Divinity.

He is a retired public school teacher, and is also retired from the US Army with two Meritorious Service Awards. He is the recipient of the Congressional Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for outstanding and invaluable service to the community award, Jacksonville’s Florida Mayor’s Distinguish Award, Trailblazers Award, Teacher of the Year Award and many other U.S. Army Awards

He is currently the Pastor of the Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church and past Jacksonville Local Chapter and State President Florida Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He has 14 years of experience in working with Not-for-Profit organizations specializing in advocacy for Juvenile Justice and Civil Rights issues. He is married to Wallette, they have a son named Andrew and two grandchildren, Darrion and Savia. He is a pastor with 33 years ministerial experience and serves on the Boards of several Not-for-Profit Organizations.

Recently, Pastor Gundy has publicly changed his stance on the need to expand the HRO in Jacksonville.  Once a vocal opponent of amending our city’s protections, Pastor Gundy has expressed why it is important to protect the rights of everyone in our community.

It is time for me to write the letter from the “Jacksonville Jail”.  It must address the conservative evangelical and black church as a whole:

The history
The harm
The hurt
The healing
The hope

The LBGT community has a right to be heard, but also others.  The voices of change must also respect the voices of resistance.  We must also deal with the voices of fear. I see the plan to introduce the law that will address the fears, but that is not what many others see.   It is very important that Bible base-believers be heard, along with the others.   That did not happen in the first meeting and must not happen hence forth.

I have set on the new ordinance for 18-months that specifically addresses the protection of the church.  You cannot blame a culture of resistance  based on their Biblical beliefs.  My belief is tied deeply with the Bible, as it relates to all matters of sin, and all have and all sin, and all fall short.  But, thank God for Jesus, all can be saved and forgiven.  Anger and mistrust, on either side, does not allow acceptance, respect, forgiveness and reconciliation.

LBGT issues have divided churches, communities and families.  This should not be, there must be honest dialogue, disagreements and forgiveness.  The evangelicals must be part of the long-term solutions and we all must love each other, even if we do not agree:

1.  The law protects the church.
2.  The law protects housing, jobs and public access.
3.  The law protects people against discrimination.

The conversation is tough but it must be held.  Discrimination against any human being is discrimination against all humanity.

Love should not divide, but bring all of us together.

Pastor Reginald Gundy, pens An awakening to what it means not to discriminate, featured in the Orlando Sentinel on February 5, 2016

Ally Profile: Chevara Orrin

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“Being an ally isn’t an option, it is a way of life. I recall my mother, a white Jewish woman saying to us when we were little girls, ‘It is absolutely the responsibility of those in positions of power and privilege – the oppressors (whatever form that takes) to be actively engaged in the liberation of those who are being oppressed.’ I believe that as human beings, we are inextricably bound and responsible for one another.”

With a passion for social justice, a rich legacy of civil rights, and the ability to inspire and engage, Chevara Orrin conceptualized and co-created, We Are Straight Allies in direct response to the August 2012 Jacksonville City Council vote rejecting Bill 2012-296, better known as the Human Rights Ordinance (HRO) which would have added sexual orientation to the current non-discrimination policy.

Chevara has worked in the profit and higher education sectors for more than 20 years and has served as a community advocate for more than 40 years. She is a creative consultant, writer and public speaker. 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 the daughter of a white, Jewish civil & human rights, social justice, and women’s liberation activist and a Black father who served as 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 the 1963 Birmingham Children’s Crusade, 1965 Selma to Montgomery March and the 1966 Chicago Open Housing Movement.

It is this legacy and her personal journey of survivorship (poverty, domestic violence, fatherlessness, incest, single motherhood) that have led Chevara to champion for the marginalized.

While serving as an administrator at a university in North Carolina, Chevara co-founded the first-ever Gay-Straight Student Alliance. Seven months later, the Board of Trustees unanimously voted to add “sexual orientation” to the university’s non-discrimination policy. A first in the history of the campus. This trailblazing work caught the attention of the White House Office of Public Engagement and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). Chevara has collaborated with numerous LGBT organizations, including the Campaign for Southern Equality, PFLAG, and Equality Florida.

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 serves as a member of the WJCT board of trustees, the Cultural Service Grants Council and was appointed to the Times-Union Editorial Board.

Chevara is also a popular and regular panelist and host/emcee for many nonprofit organizations and has been featured as a TEDx Jacksonville speaker.

Chevara has been featured in articles in The Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville Free Press, Arbus Magazine, The Washington Post, Atlanta-Journal ConstitutionWinston-Salem Chronicleskirt! Magazine, Winston-Salem JournalWinston-Salem Monthly, 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.

 

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.

JAX Allies_Ad-2_FP_PrintA 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!