Staff and Board
GetEQUAL Staff and Consultants
Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez, Co-Director
Felipe was ranked one of the top 20 community college students in the United States and best student in the state of Florida in 2008 according to the American Association of Community Colleges. In addition to his educational excellence, Felipe also found time to serve his peers as student government president of Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus. A recent graduate from St. Thomas University, he was born to a single mother in the slums of Brazil, who sent him at age 14 to the United States, where he first dreamed of becoming a teacher. Felipe walked on the Trail of Dreams in 2010 to draw attention to the need for the DREAM Act, and has been organizing for the past few years with both Presente and United We DREAM. Felipe was awarded the “Freedom From Fear” award from Public Interest Projects in 2011 for his work on the Trail of Dreams. He has a long record of pressuring both Democrats (see here) and Republicans (see here) for progress on Latino issues — and now he’s bringing that knowledge and history to the LGBT movement. You can reach Felipe by emailing him at felipe at getequal dot org.
Heather Cronk, Co-Director
Heather joined GetEQUAL in May 2010. Prior to her work with GetEQUAL, Heather was the Chief Operating Officer at the New Organizing Institute, overseeing operations and expanding programs. Heather has also worked with organizations such as mySociety in the U.K. and with Idealist.org in the U.S., always focused on building community and pushing for tangible social change. Born in Temple, TX, and raised in Lexington, KY, Heather holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in religion/philosophy from Berry College in Rome, GA, and a Master of Divinity degree from Wake Forest University Divinity School in Winston-Salem, NC. You can reach Heather by emailing her at heather at getequal dot org.
Kirin Kanakkanatt, National Field Coordinator
Kirin Kanakkanatt is a 24 year-old Ohio native. She is a proud queer, Asian Pacific Islander, woman. She has worked with young people and unlikely voters in the 2008, 2010 and 2012 elections. She loves climate justice and has organized against mountain top removal in Appalachia, against fracking in Ohio and for the green economy nationwide. She has mobilized young people around student power in Ohio through her work with the Ohio Student Association. She has been a fellow with 18 Million Rising, the state director for VoteMob OH, the Millennial Coordinator for Local Strategy and she is a Dream Defender. Recently, she was the project director for the National Student Power Convergence 2013. The convergence brought together 378 youth and student leaders, organizers, activists, artists and journalists from 36 different states. From August 1-5 they trained, cooked, danced and built together, across issue lines. Kirin believes in creating collective power for collective wins to get collective liberation. You can find Kirin on Twitter @kirin_rosemary, and via email at kirin at getequal dot org.
GetEQUAL Board Members
Tanya Domi (board chair)
Tanya Domi is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, who teaches human rights in Eurasia. Domi served 15 years in the U.S. Army enlisting in 1974 as a Private and rose to the rank of Captain, before her honorable discharge in 1990. Prior to joining Columbia, Domi worked more than a decade in a dozen countries on democratic and economic transitional development, political and media development, human rights and gender issues. Domi became a nationally known LGBT rights activist in the early 1990s as director of military freedom initiative at the National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce, where she worked to repeal the ban on lesbians and gays serving in the military. Domi is a widely published author and blogger on human rights for LGBT persons and women. She has appeared on hundreds of media outlets in the United States and throughout the world, speaking about human rights and current affairs.
John Bare worked as a research molecular biologist and geneticist, but evolved into a donor and activist. While at the University of California San Francisco, he was a lead member of the team that identified a key gene responsible for basal cell carcinomas, the most common cancer in humans. John co-chaired the board of Horizons Foundation, co-founded its film donor circle, participated in its marriage equality and transgender rights giving circles, and lead a comprehensive review of Horizons’ grantmaking programs and priorities. More recently, John was one of the 24 co- authors of The Dallas Principles. He also co-edited www.actonprinciples.org, a sister project that provides an online toolset to help turn the Principles into equality.
Father Geoff Farrow
Father Geoffrey Farrow was born in the city of Camaguey in the Republic of Cuba in 1957. His family moved to the United States in August of 1961. He entered St. John’s College in the fall of 1978 and received a BA in Philosophy in 1981. He received a Master of Divinity degree from St. John’s Seminary in 1985 and was ordained a Catholic priest on June 1st of that same year. He served various churches, campuses, and the U.S. Air Force from 1987 to 2008. On October 5, 2008 Fr. Geoff delivered a statement at the end of the 11 AM Mass at the Newman Center at CSUF, explaining that he could not comply with a directive from his bishop to direct parishioners to vote “yes” on Proposition 8 in California. Later that week, Fr. Geoff was removed as pastor of St. Paul’s by his bishop and suspended as a priest. He worked throughout the month of October with the “No on Prop. 8” campaign.Currently, Fr. Geoff is engaged in public speaking to advance the cause of LGBT rights, and has received commendations both from the City of West Hollywood and the California State Assembly for his civil rights work on behalf of the LGBT community.
Jess Kutch is a digital strategist and co-founder of Coworker.org, an online platform for workplace organizing. Coworker.org made its soft-launch debut in January 2013, and is currently supporting more than 30 campaigns led by individual employees or groups of workers. The site will expand in 2014 to include legal guides, employer information and an improved user experience.
Previously, Jess served as Organizing Director at Change.org, where she led a team of organizers in providing strategic support to campaigns on Change.org’s platform. While at Change.org, Jess won more than 40 user-generated campaigns, ranging from saving homes from foreclosure to defeating Bank of America’s $5 debit card fee.
Before joining Change.org in 2011, Jess spent five years directing online campaigns for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). During that time, she pioneered new media strategies for worksite organizing and issue campaigning within the labor movement.
Her campaigns have been profiled by top tier media outlets, including ABC World News, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and CNN. Jess has presented at numerous conferences on topics related to digital organizing, most recently at Progress 2013 in Melbourne, Australia. She is also a former Senior Fellow for the New Organizing Institute, where she regularly trains and coaches digital organizers. Jess lives in Washington, DC with her wife, Rebecca, and their evil cat, Dashiell Hammett.
Robert Lassègue joined GetEQUAL in June of 2012. Robert is a freelance event planner living in New York with his partner of 10 years, Manuel Reyes, and also serves on the board of Marriage Equality USA. Robert is an avid support of marriage equality, the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) including the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), the DREAM Act (acronym for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors), ensuring that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) stays repealed, and passage of Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). Rob’s motto is: “Making sure the our elected officials are held accountable and keeping the public informed.”
Nelini Stamp is currently the Special Projects Director for Working Families Organization, which is backed by labor and community-based organizations. In 2008, Nelini joined the Working Families Party staff in NY, working on numerous electoral campaigns across New York State. Nelini’s work on the ground at Occupy Wall Street helped bridge the gap between labor, community-based organizations and Occupy. Last year, Nelini helped launch the Dream Defenders, focused on organizing and training youth in non-violent cilvil disobedience, civic engagement, and direct action. Currently, Nelini’s focus of work as Special Projects DIrector is leveraging community and political climate for statewide offensive issue work around economic issues.
Monique began organizing while attending college- working on a number of city and statewide issues and for progressive candidates ranging from former Ashland City Councilor, Cate Hartzell to Oregon’s Secretary of State, Kate Brown.
Monique first joined Democracy for America after two years as the National Field Director for the US Student Association (USSA). While with USSA, she worked to hold state and national leaders accountable on key progressive issues, such as education, healthcare, immigration reform and labor rights by mobilizing college & university campuses. For the 2010 election, she organized voter registration, education and get-out-the-vote efforts on over 100 campuses resulting in more than 70,000 registered voters.
Once the 111th Congressional session wrapped, Monique returned to DFA to train, recruit and develop activists, organizers and candidates in grassroots tactics and strategy – focusing on her first true love, the deep South. In 2012, she moved to MN-08 to direct CREDO SuperPAC’s campaign to defeat the worst tea-party members of Congress. After a successful campaign, Monique happily returned to DFA to continue expanding the progressive bench across 50 states.
In her downtime you will find Monique playing Trivial Pursuit with her grandparents, ruining a recipe she found online, digging trenches or sleeping on a beach.
Jessy Tolkan works as the Global Director of the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Campaign, and as the Director of Strategic Partnerships for the Working Families Party. While currently focused on creating massive shifts in the auto-industry with an eye towards ensuring a more sustainable planet, Jessy has spent the last decade as an activist and movement leader working to build progressive change in the United States. Most recently Jessy served as the Co-Executive Director of Citizen Engagement Lab. Prior to her leadership of Citizen Engagement Lab, she was a Senior Fellow with the New Organizing Institute, where she focused on progressive infrastructure building, the 2012 youth vote, and the next steps for the climate & energy sector. Before switching her attention to the progressive movement at large, Jessy was the Executive Director for the Energy Action Coalition, a coalition of 50 leading youth organizations throughout the U.S. and Canada. Under her leadership, the Energy Action Coalition built a generation-wide movement to stop global warming by advocating for green jobs, stopping new coal plants, and making young people’s voices heard in the policy debate around global climate change. Jessy has spent most of her career working to build power amongst the millennial generation. In 2004, as state director for the New Voters Project, Tolkan helped to register more than 130,000 young voters and produce one of the highest youth turnout rates in the country. Tolkan received a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Political Science. In 2008, Rolling Stone Magazine named her one of the 100 agents of change in America.