Acknowledgement of Staff/Board Changes

Here at CLAGS we’ve had a changing of the guard in recent months. Development Director Effie MacLachlan has moved on to a position at CUNY central on 80th Street, Events and Outreach Coordinator Barrak Alzaid is now Programs Co-ordinator at ArteEast, a New York-based international nonprofit organization that supports and promotes artists from the Middle East and its diasporas, and interim Events Co-ordinator Mel King has moved to the Empire State Pride Agenda. Many thanks to all of them for their hard work for CLAGS.

The positive side of these changes is that we are delighted to welcome Arianne Benford as our new Events and Outreach Co-ordinator and Jasmine Burnett as Development Director. Jasmine Burnett comes to CLAGS via Los Angeles, where she was Development Associate with the Black Aids Institute. Jasmine has a strong background organizing for queer women of color’s sexual health: she blogs about African American lesbian sexuality at Aunt Betty’s Basement, and is a sexual health educator with the Female Health Company. She is also a Prevention Research Advocate for HIV Vaccine, microbicide, & ARV development at AVAC: Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention.

Arianne Benford is a lead producer for Rivers of Honey, a twelve year old cabaret held the first Friday of every month at WOW cafe theatre. She was artist-in-residence in the New York Studio Program, and is an established poet and essayist on the LGBT performance circuit. Arianne brings with her significant skills in new media, including website design and construction and social media networking.

New Staff Members

Arianne Benford is the Events and Outreach Coordinator/ CLAGSnews Editor. She is a Poet, Producer and Visual Artist, whose work is rooted in text and its creative applications for social change. She is a proud native of Chicago IL. In addition to her work at CLAGS, she serves as a producer with WOW Cafe Theater (the oldest anarchist run women and trans theater in the country), and Rivers Of Honey (a cabaret theater for women and trans artists of color) She is also a member of the Urbana Poetry National Team, Spoken Word Poetry Almanac Project (SWAP), and was recently honored by the Fresh Fruit Festival for her poetry. Currently she is completing work on her first collection of writing, See. Fight. Breathe.

Jasmine Burnett is the Development Director of CLAGS. She is a researcher and practitioner of philanthropy from a social justice context. Her interest and involvement in philanthropy started with HIV/AIDS and how to direct funding toward organizations advocating for the collective interest of underrepresented groups and how to assist them in establishing an infrastructure that enhances their capacity to meet the needs of the communities that they serve. In addition to her work at CLAGS, Jasmine serves as a sex positive moderator for the FC2 Female Condom® and founded Aunt Betty’s Basement, a blog that focuses on sex, sexuality and reproductive justice for black women. She holds degrees from Purdue University and Universita’ di Bologna, Bologna Italy.

New Board Members

Kenyon Farrow has been working as an organizer, communications strategist, and writer on issues at the intersection of HIV/AIDS, prisons, and homophobia. Kenyon has recently taken over as Executive Director of Queers for Economic Justice—an organization dedicated to organizing, research, and advocacy for and with low-income and working class queer and trans communities. Prior to becoming ED, Kenyon had been serving as the National Public Education Director n building the visibility of progressive racial and economic justice issues as they pertain to LGBTQ community through coalition-building, public education, and media advocacy. Kenyon was also a Policy Institute Fellow with the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) doing research, writing, and advocating for new approaches to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Black gay men in the U.S.

Amber Hollibaugh Speechwriter, essayist, and orator, Amber Hollibaugh has over 30 years of experience creating, implementing, and managing innovative projects in health, gender, sexuality, HIV/AIDS, aging, racial justice and immigration. She was the director of both the first Elder LGBT Policy, Education & Community Organizing department in the USA, and of the first Lesbian AIDS project in the United States. Hollibaugh is Co-Director of the Sundance Film Festival Award-winning documentary film, The Heart Of The Matter, a documentary film about women’s sexuality, gender, denial and risk through the prism of AIDS and author of My Dangerous Desires—A Queer Girl Dreaming Her Way Home (Duke Univ.Press, 2002)

Jeff Maskovsky is Associate Professor of Urban Studies, Queens College, and of Anthropology, The Graduate Center, CUNY. His research and writing focus on poverty, health, grassroots activism, and political representation in the urban United States. A central feature of Maskovsky’s work has been the study of sexual politics and sexual citizenship, and the book that he is currently finishing devotes considerable attention to the hidden history of poor and homeless sexual minorities in AIDS activism. He was actively involved in AIDS activism, for more than a decade, with organizations that link the struggle against AIDS with human rights, civil rights, feminism, and gay rights, through grassroots anti-poverty and racial justice projects. Maskovsky also helped to found two innovative community health and HIV treatment education programs.