Staff

GSA Network Staff

 

Rexy Amaral, NorCal Youth Organizer

Rexy is a trans warrior, Latina woman, born and raised in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico in a small town. She became familiar with GSA Network by participating at her first GSA meetup in 2012. Before she knew it she was hosting the Youth Empowerment Summit at Mission High School for three consecutive years, attending National Gathering for two years and eventually interning at GSA Network in 2016. Rexy has continued her fight for the survival of trans students in California by joining GSA Network as the Norcal Youth Organizer. Outside of work you can find Rexy performing at high school drag shows, or on facebook live. 

     
 

David BracamontesSenior Manager, Operations

Born and raised in Los Angeles, David now calls Northern California home. His organizing, planning and activism began as a student leader with the MultiCultural Center (MCC) of Humboldt State University. After earning a degree in Communication as well as working in sexual assault prevention education and alcohol and other drug prevention, David returned to the MCC as the Program and Outreach Coordinator. The role solidified David’s passion for planning and organizing that contributes to authentic positive social change. In 2007 David transitioned his work to residential housing programs in the college and university settings working with The Art Institute of California, Humboldt State and San Francisco State Universities. David’s personal and professional passions combined when he became a founding member of the Eureka Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Currently David serves the Bay Area as a member of the San Francisco Sisters. David is thrilled to join the GSA Network team where the organization’s mission aligns with his personal passion.

     
 

Ginna Brelsford, Co-Executive Director

Originally from Juneau, Alaska, Ginna is a highly qualified administrator with progressive leadership experience, who managed GSA Network’s finance and operations as Finance and Administrative Director before becoming Co-Executive Director. Ginna joined GSA Network’s staff in 2011 where she has served as a member of the Executive and Management Teams. A graduate of Smith College, Ginna has over 10 years of nonprofit financial and operations experience having previously been employed at MassEquality, Nonprofit Finance Fund, and Environmental Justice Coalition for Water. In her tenure at GSA Network, Ginna has overseen organizational human resources and operational needs in a rapid expansion of staff and infrastructure, including expansion to another state. Ginna became Co-Executive Director in 2015 and is also an Arcus Foundation Leadership Fellow. When not at GSA Network, Ginna enjoys traveling around California's wine country with her wife, Jill.

     
 

Frank Chestnut, Midwest Regional Organizer

frank is a Black, Selma, Alabama born, gender non-conforming queer-boy. They are currently living and working on the stolen and colonized, ancient homelands of the Miami and Potawatomi people, commonly known as Chicago. frank accepted the sobering pleasure of working with Black and Brown youth within the city’s intentionally segregated and resource-starved West, South and Northwest Side neighborhoods. Over the past several years, frank has worked to educate, organize, nurture, mobilize and collaborate with queer and trans youth of color in the Chicago-land area. Much of this work has been in collaboration with education, youth leadership and public health nonprofits, the Chicago Public Schools, and other organizations that serve queer and trans youth of color who deserve to thrive despite structural inequality and other socio-politically marginalizing lived experiences. frank also serves on the Board of Directors for Chicago Black Gay Men’s Caucus. In solidarity with Black and Non-Black People of Color (NBPOC) living with HIV, frank serves as a non-positive ally on steering and advisory board committees that strategize HIV education and treatment in Chicago. frank loves large bodies of water, their family (which includes very close friends), the woods, flora and fauna, art history, Black women (and NBWOC) liberation histories/futures, plus establishment abolition. They hold a B.A in History and a B.S. in Biology from Tuskegee University.

     
 

Eli Chi, Office Manager

Eli is a queer and transmasculine Chinese-Cuban American pretty boi. He was born and raised on the East Coast, and grew up in Minnesota. He attended Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri and received his BA in Advertising/Marketing Communications. It wasn’t until after college when Eli went through his own personal journey and transition that he found his passion for advocating and organizing with his queer and transgender community in St. Louis. During his time there, Eli worked directly with queer and trans young people, facilitating support spaces for them. He also created a safe space for queer and trans folks of color to exist with one another. When he is not working, you can probably find Eli riding his bike around town, singing and dancing to music in his head, or shamelessly trying to (or making someone else) take new photos of himself and his fashion for all of social media to see.

     
 

Cathy Chu, Southern California Regional Manager

Cathy is a second-generation Cantonese / Asian American tenderqueer born and raised in the middle-class suburbs of New Jersey. An East Coaster until last year, they moved to Los Angeles to study and research education and youth resistance from a race and ethnic studies critical lens at UCLA. Prior to GSA Network, Cathy was the Youth Leadership Manager at SMYAL (Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders), a LGBTQ youth leadership organization in Washington, DC. Cathy also worked as a Youth Organizer in Silver Spring, MD, coordinating youth-driven media campaigns against deportation and for immigrant rights and justice. Currently, Cathy builds with Chinatown Community for Equitable Development, an all-volunteer LA-based organization fighting displacement and gentrification, and supports Summer Activist Training, a 3-day organizing skills training for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. She holds a B.A. from Wellesley College in Women's and Gender Studies. Growing up as a queer high schooler and GSA member who proudly thought being a lesbian meant being less Asian, Cathy is committed to and energized by GSA Network’s vision of racial and gender justice led by youth leaders embracing the intersections. In their spare time they enjoy cooking, eating, karaoke practice sessions, friendly board game competition, and a good dance party. Cathy doesn't really like pronouns but is usually cool with a confusing mix of they/them/theirs and she/her/hers.

 

 

Juniperangelica Cordova-Goff, National Trans Youth Justice Organizer

While attending Azusa High School, Juniper began her career at GSA Network’s Activist Camp. She quickly grew invested in the organization, traveling the nation as a Youth Trainer and mentor. She has since focused on the intersectional movement of low-no income queer and trans people of color. Juniper prides herself in her radical feminist identity as well as being a community college student at Citrus College. She is the first non-binary transgender person of color to be elected to the position of Student Trustee on the Citrus College Board of Trustees. As a political science major, Juniper is working to transfer to New York University where she will specify her studies toward queer and brown movements. For now, she is beyond excited to work for the organization that served as the platform for her own development, guiding the next transgender youth leaders of tomorrow. Juniper continues her work to ensure that her nibling Adrian will grow up in a society that truly appreciates diversity and is able to thrive in any identify they shall embrace for themself.

 

Christopher Covington, Southern California Local Community Organizer

As a proud product of Long Beach, California. Christopher Covington has dedicated his life to a future where all students who have historically been marginalized, made invisible, and unheard are uplifted and empowered to challenge and deconstruct the systems of oppression. As a multi-racial, gay young man of color growing up in poverty he was determined that he would not be boxed in by the limitations others placed on him. His dedication and determination to advancing issues and creating real systems change led him to begin organizing his community. He is honored to have grown from organizations such as the California Conference for Equality and Justice, Khmer Girls in Action, Every Student Matters Campaign, The California Endowment and the National Dignity in Schools Campaign. He specialized in building true partnerships between students and members of City Councils, School Boards, California State Legislature and the U.S. Department of Education on issues of inclusion, working families, school to prison pipeline and restorative justice that led to major policy wins.

     
  Anna Davis, Communications Manager

Anna C. Davis was born and raised in Mississippi, and has been a youth organizer there for over ten years. Anna first became involved in youth organizing at college where she led the university’s Gay Straight Alliance. Recognizing a need to connect to other youth leaders in the state, she and several other young leaders started the Mississippi Safe Schools Coalition (MSSC). She went on to study mass media, race, and culture and holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations and a master’s degree in mass communications from The University of Southern Mississippi. Recently, Anna has been working as part of the Better Together Cohort of Southern-based Racial and LGBTQ Justice organizations. As a Southern organizer, Anna works to lift up Southern voices in national discussions about social justice work as well as working to reframe national dialogues about the South to highlight the communities of resistance which have always existed there. 
     
 

Andy Gonzalez, Field Organizer, Southern California

Andy is a trans gender non-conforming Latinx member to recently join the GSA Network. Their pronouns are they/them/theirs. Andy was born in Watsonville, CA. However, Andy was raised in Tijuana and Guadalajara Mexico until they were 16, when their family returned to Los Angeles, CA. Since then, South Los Angeles has become their home. While attending John C. Fremont High School, as a youth activist, Andy was involved with Community Coalition fighting against the School to Prison Pipeline when their school was threatened of being closed. At the same time Andy started to get involved with the GSA club during senior year. This made a huge impact on Andy for their own identity as a Queer and Trans youth and their activism involvement. After high school, Andy got involved with several LGBTQ+ collectives such as, FMLA a feminist club that fought to have safe spaces and increased representation of queer and trans students on campus. Additionally, Andy has been collaborating along side with Immigrant Youth Coalition as a comrade to fight against the deportation and detentions of undocumented queer and trans folk. Andy is ready and excited to work along side powerful and amazing trans and queer youth working to fight for gender, racial, and sexuality justice. Andy holds a BA in Sociology and a minor in Women Gender and Sexualities studies from California State University Los Angeles. 

     
 

Michelle Guevara, Director of Development and Communications

Inspired by the wave of massive pro-immigration reform protests in 2006, Michelle started a career in social justice that same year with a focus on immigrant rights and Latino empowerment.  She has worked for nonprofits in California, Florida, and Texas, and brings nearly 10 years of experience in fund development, communications, and organizational management to her role as Director of Development and Communications. Prior to working in the nonprofit industry, Michelle was a journalist for both English and Spanish-language media outlets in Miami and San Antonio, covering Latin American politics and economics as well as issues impacting Latinos in the U.S.  Michelle holds a BA in International Studies with a minor in Economics from Boston College.

     
  Marc Navarro, Fresno GSA Organizer

Marcus Navarro was born, and still lives in the Central Valley of California. His first exposure to GSA Network, and the LGBTQ community, was as a member of his high school club his freshman year. Since then his involvement and dedication for the organization has grown every year. He spent all of high school as a youth leader and activist, traveling across the Central Valley to connect and educate other youth on issues being faced by the community. In 2015 he become a staff member with GSA Network and is helping to sharpen the leadership skills of the next generation of youth leaders in the central valley. Marc’s passion for helping the LGBTQ community stems from his own queer identity along with his desire to make safer communities for others and that relate to the struggles present for all minority individuals.
 
 
     
 

Rhina Ramos, Director of California Programs

Rhina Ramos was born in El Salvador, and arrived in the US at age 14. Since very early in life, Rhina learned that justice is only attainable by a lifelong commitment to defend human rights.  Being an immigrant, Rhina experienced first hand the pain of invisibility. Her professional life includes being a labor rights lawyer, a social justice organizer and trainer. Fueled by her dream and passion to fight for social justice, Rhina graduated from Hofstra University School of Law in 1995. She led the legal department at a workers’ center in Long Island, New York, where her team recuperated over half a million dollars in unpaid wages and benefits owed to immigrant workers. During her 20 years of work in the non-profit sector, she has worked tirelessly for education justice, ending mass incarceration of people of color, labor rights, immigrant rights, domestic violence prevention, environmental justice and international solidarity. She served as the Director of Programs at The Ella Baker Center (EBC) for two years as part of their Executive Team.  At EBC, Rhina had the opportunity to support the work on local, statewide and national campaigns to end the mass incarceration of youth of color including the Books Not Bars Campaign. She holds a Masters in Divinity from the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley. Rhina became an ordained minister by the United Church of Christ (UCC) in May 2012. In December 2011, she created and is still leading the first Latino Immigrant Open and Affirming LGBTQ UCC congregation of Northern California. She currently serves on the board of two non-profits that do environmental justice and LGBTQ Advocacy in El Salvador, EcoViva and ALDES (Legal Assistance for Sexual Diversity in El Salvador).

     
 

Neda Said, National Training & Curricula Organizer

Neda Said was born and raised in the East Bay and identifies with the Afghan refugee diaspora. As a queer woman of color, survivor of violence, and first generation student, her work is led by passion to alleviate the injustices for marginalized communities at the intersections of identity. Her previous professional work includes social justice education, youth leadership programming, and community engagement. Neda has been involved in community empowerment work in a myriad of ways, including cultivating awareness around and providing support for survivors of domestic and sexual violence. She continues to build on her passion for providing engaging, accessible education around social issues, and is excited to use her skills to further support youth and community leaders. She also organizes to support incarcerated survivors of domestic violence as an advocate with Survived and Punished. Neda completed her studies in Political Science and International Studies at UC San Diego. When she isn’t immersed in planning the details of something, she’s probably out enjoying the sunshine. 

     
  Christopher White, Director of the Safe and Supportive Schools Project

Chris was raised in Odessa in the desert plains of West Texas, where “real” men played football or worked on oilrigs. Growing up as an effeminate, smart, gay boy and inspired by the determination of his teen parents, he has chosen a life-long career of activism, advocacy, and research with regards to LGBT rights and sexual/reproductive health and rights, particularly for young people. Chris earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Texas at Austin (UT) and went on to earn an MA from New York University in human sexuality education before returning to UT for his doctorate in health promotion. He was the cofounder of the Gay Youth Media Project, a collaboration between OutYouth Austin and the Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival, and his research has focused on preparing teachers and others who work with young people to meet the needs of LGBT youth. He was most recently the Director of Education and Training at the National Sexuality Resource Center at San Francisco State University and is adjunct faculty in the Human Sexuality Program at Widener University. When he’s not striving to promote the health and well being of young people, Chris can usually be found at a dance class, riding his bike, or exploring the Bay Area.
     
  Geoffrey Winder, Co-Executive Director

A former high school activist and GSA leader, Geoffrey has been working with GSA Network since his time as a youth council leader in 1999 and brings over 15 years of social justice youth organizing experience to his leadership role. Geoffrey served as a governing board member from 2001 to 2005 and was GSA Network’s Board Co-Chair in 2004. He joined GSA Network’s full time staff in 2008 and most recently served as the organization’s Sr. Manager of the Racial and Economic Justice program, a program he developed and led since its inception in 2011. Under his leadership, GSA Network’s Racial and Economic Justice work developed into a signature program raising GSA Network’s national profile as a voice for LGBTQ youth of color and is largely credited with shifting the national narrative on LGBTQ youth anti-bullying policies and punitive school discipline while highlighting the issues of LGBTQ youth pushout. Geoffrey has represented GSA Network and the issues facing LGBTQ youth of color in schools on panels about school discipline hosted by the White House, Ford Foundation, Gill Foundation, The California Endowment, and in federal hearings by DOE’s Office of Civil Rights. He became Co-Executive Director in 2015 and currently supports GSA Network’s California and National program teams in ensuring all LGBTQ youth access to quality education. He has his BA from New York University's Gallatin School in Change Theory and Globalization. He is a 2015 Arcus Foundation Leadership Fellow.
     

 

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