Monica Raye Simpson, a queer, black, NC native, has organized extensively against human rights abuse, the prison industry, racism, and systemic violence against Southern black women and LBGTQ people. A proud graduate of the historically black Johnson C. Smith University, she earned a bachelor’s in Communications and organized for LGBTQ rights on and off campus. She then became the Operations Director and the first person of color at the Charlotte Lesbian & Gay Community Center. Next, she trained black youth in activism, philanthropy, and fundraising as the Ujamaa Coordinator for Grassroots Leadership. In 2010, she moved to GA to be our Development Coordinator; she was promoted to Deputy Coordinator in 2011, Interim Executive Director in 2012, and Executive Director in 2013.
Monica is a nationally sought-after facilitator, speaker, and organizer, constantly called upon to travel the country for appearances. She is the only woman among the 4 founders of Charlotte, NC's Black Gay Pride Celebration, the first in the Bible Belt, which received awards from the National Black Justice Coalition and the Human Rights Coalition for its incredible launch with 7,000 participants. She has been featured in many publications for her activism, and has written many articles on LGBTQ issues, RJ, over-policing of black/brown communities, philanthropy, and Southern activism. In 2014 she was named a New Civil Rights Leader by Essence Magazine, and in 2015 was chosen as a panelist for the Women of the World Summit. Also a full circle doula certified through the International Center for Traditional Childbirth, she serves on the boards of the Fund for Southern Communities and the legendary Highlander Center.
A singer and spoken word artist who infuses art into her activism, Monica has appeared in theatrical productions such as For the Love of Harlem, Words the Isms, Walk Like a Man, The Vagina Monologues, and For Colored Girls. She released her first solo album, Revolutionary Love, in 2015, and she has performed at events across the country, including singing the National Anthem and the National Black Anthem for the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. march and rally in Atlanta, GA. Monica created Artists United for Reproductive Justice as a project of SisterSong in order to create a platform for artists to collaborate on replicable artwork that furthers the Reproductive Justice movement.
Ashley S. Williams
Ashley Williams is a trans non-binary femme from Fayetteville, NC. As a Black Lives Matter organizer, Ashley has educated the NC community about state-sanctioned violence as it relates to trans and queer people of color. Since 2013, this work has included leading rapid response/ guerilla actions, building solidarity and coalitions across differences, developing press strategies, designing campaigns, educating and mobilizing people on social media, and training other organizers. As campaign manager for a NC Representative, Ashley has also managed donations and calendars, facilitated training for volunteers and interns, supervised all campaign communications, conducted research, and planned and implemented campaign strategies. Ashley is a 2016 Human Rights Advocacy Fellow in Residence and Ignite NC Fellow (working against voter suppression), and won the Cyrus M. Johnson Award for Peace and Social Justice in 2014 and the Charlotte Pride Young Catalyst Award in 2016. They hold a master’s in Ethics and Applied Philosophy and a bachelor’s in Philosophy from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Ashley is also a dancer, choreographer, and dance teacher.
Executive Administrator/Community Organizer
Leah Jones, from Louisville KY, was an administrative volunteer for SisterSong, and then contracted with us to help coordinate our covenings before becoming staff. Leah has organized to increase wages and benefits for GA adjunct professors, and supported the launch of Black Lives Matter in Atlanta. She has four years’ experience as an Executive Assistant for a team of VPs at Goldman Sachs. A visual artist, she created and ran The Creative Merchant, a monthly open-air market for artists and small business owners to promote their work. SisterSong’s local grassroots Trust Black Women Womb Wellness Days are her brainchild, and she is co-leading our local community events with Justina Trim.
Membership and Program Associate
Justina Trim recently graduated from Georgia State University with a bachelor’s in Sociology, a concentration in Race and Urban Studies, and a Psychology minor. Hailing from the Caribbean (St. Lucia) and FL, she has done community organizing for cultural and inclusive education, and hosted workshops on youth empowerment and the intersection between race and gender. Her passion for black feminism, social justice, and human rights has been lifelong. Justina is now working with Leah Jones to develop and co-lead SisterSong local grassroots Trust Black Women programming.
Strategic Partnership Consultant
Omisade Burney-Scott is a black, Southern, feminist, mother and healer with decades of experience in nonprofit leadership, philanthropy, and social justice. A SisterSong Member and Principal of Ananse Consulting, she is grounded in an analysis of systems of oppression, and has trained extensively in identity politics, intersectionality, and liberatory organizing practices. Omisade sees herself as an Organizational Development Midwife facilitating major transitions that social justice nonprofits and groups must make in order to remain relevant, responsive, intentional, healthy, and sustainable. Her expertise includes: program management, project design, community building, facilitation of learning communities, nonprofit executive coaching, curriculum development, and asset-based community development training and coaching. As a healer, she is particularly skilled in creating safe and open spaces that facilitate people to dig down deep into their own power and create their own solutions. She will help SisterSong coordinate regional strategies, build relationships across movements, and coordinate partnerships and coalitions. Omisade earned her bachelor’s in communications from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Artist United for RJ Organizer
Stephanie Alvarado is a queer Latina feminista born and raised in the Bronx, NY by way of Guayaquil, Ecuador. Since becoming politicized in early adolescence around the power of community organizing and culture/art activism, she has worked at the intersections of youth organizing, RJ, immigrant rights, racial justice, and queer liberation at local, state, national, and international levels. A former Field Organizer for National Latinas for Reproductive Health, she is now Program Assistant at The Health Initiative, which seeks to improve the health and wellbeing of GA’s LGBTQ community. Also a spoken word poet and RJ scholar activist, she holds a bachelor’s in Psychology and Latino Studies from New York University, and a Master’s in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Emory University.
Shinetta Terriquez is an office professional with a passion for numbers and over 18 years of accounting and administrative experience. She has worked for many fortune 500 companies including GA Power, Aramark, MKRC Properties, National Mediation Group, The Stanley Works, Southern Regional Hospital, and Grady Memorial. Her experience includes creating access databases, policies and procedures, and data analysis, as well as EOM reports, financial statements, and 1099's. One of her greatest accomplishments was setting up a processing system that allowed for commissions, payroll, and yearly projection to be generated for Turner Field. Shinetta earned her Accounting Degree from Atlanta Technical College and is certified as a payroll accounting specialist, computerized accounting specialist, and office accounting specialist.