Leadership & Staff
Kiara St. James
Co-Founder & Executive Director
Kiara St. James has been a community organizer and public speaker for over 20 years. She has been instrumental in changing discriminatory shelter policies that affected the Trans community, and presented workshops concerning marginalized communities at the International AIDS Conference in Vienna, Austria and the United Nations, as well as many other conferences and academic institutions. For the last 17 years, Kiara has also been coordinating meetings with legislators to discuss the importance of passing the Gender Expression Non Discrimination Act, a bill that will enrich the lives of all New Yorkers by ensuring they receive equal protection under the law. Kiara is the Founder and current Executive director of the New York Transgender Advocacy Group (NYTAG inc), A grassroots 501c-3 non-profit organization, that is Trans-led and intent on creating new opportunities for the Trans community, through various partnerships and innovative initiatives.
Tanya Asapansa-Johnson Walker
Tanya Asapansa-Johnson Walker is 55 years old, Honorably Discharged U.S Army Veteran. She attended the College of Staten Island for 3 years, before having to leave abruptly due to discrimination and threat of violence. Previously, she worked as a Case Manager in Transgender transitional housing program for over 7 years. Tanya has been an LGBTQ Activist for more than 25 years. She is a feminist who has fought for Women’s Rights, and is fighting currently for the rights of all Transgender and Cis - documented and undocumented individuals. She is a member of the Stonewall Democrats, the Black & Latino Coalition, and the GENDA Advocates Coalition with Governor Cuomo’s Staff. Tanya has traveled to different places in the world and has developed an understanding of many different cultures.
Director of Policy & Programs
Amanda has worked in the nonprofit field in both a direct practice and research capacity. She has evaluated large citywide pilot programs working at Columbia University and the City University of New York (CUNY). Before transitioning into a more quantitative role, she worked at the Center for the Study of Social Policy developing a youth well-being framework while conducting Participatory Action Research (PAR) with marginalized communities throughout New York City. She is currently on the Board of Directors for Evaluate for Change, a nonprofit that provides capacity building around evaluation for nonprofit professionals. Amanda holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work & Public Policy from Columbia University in the City of New York.
Sasha Rodriguez Kolodkin
has been an outspoken advocate for the LGBTQ community since 2010. She served as an executive of SUNY Purchase’s LGBTQ union from 2014-2016, and is a volunteer school speaker with PFLAG. She has, and continues to be, a peer-mentor for members of her community. With a diverse background as a writer and performer, she is dedicated to creating work that elicits an intense desire for social equity and justice.
Ivy is a non-binary person of color who was born and raised in Corona, Queens, New York. They’re a Social Work student attending Long Island University in Brooklyn. They have a burning passion for social activism. Their goals include helping educate their community, creating socia support and helping spread the word about events that help out the community.
Josephine is a unisex Transgender-female of color, born and raised in Harlem, NYC. She has a big passion on Political Advocacy and has been a crucial advocate for the policy change and planning for Transgender and Unisex identified folks in NYC since 1996. Her goals in doing advocacy work has always been to educate, mobilize, and empower her sisters.