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Rev Alba Onofrio | Reverend Sex
Rev Alba Onofrio (aka Reverend Sex) is a Southern Appalachian First-Gen Latinx Queer Evangelical Femme Resister who lives and loves in la Lucha with QTPOC folks as a Spiritual Healer and Bruja Troublemaker to subvert systems of domination, combat spiritual terrorism, reclaim the Divine and the erotic, and eradicate shame and fear wherever they are found. They hold a Masters of Divinity degree from Vanderbilt Divinity School, where their studies focused on the theologies of sex, embodiment of the Divine in the queer colonized body, and sexual ethics based in queer desire. Alba has also worked in the immigrants rights movement for over a decade, previously serving as the Executive Director of El Centro Hispano, the then-largest non-religiously affiliated grassroots community center in North Carolina. As the former spiritual strategist for Soulforce and co-founder of the Sexual Liberation Collective, Reverend Sex continues to work for Queer Liberation all over the place, but most fondly in the US South and in solidarity with the Global South.
Nadia Arellano Tapia
Nadia Arellano Tapia is an intercultural facilitator from Mexico City with a background in human rights and feminist theologies. Nadia accompanies the family members of victims of violence, and also works with feminist women of faith and religious communities open to the LGBTIQA+ community as they mobilize against religious fundamentalisms and spiritual violence. She is passionate about learning, asking questions, reading, and thinking aloud with others.
Assata de la Cruz
Director of Community Outreach
Assata de la Cruz is a Black & Indigenous Queer Southern mama of two. In addition to Soulforce, she is the owner of an apothecary and botanica rooted in Yoruba and Chahta ancestral wisdom. Through academia, she studied Journalism and Communications with a minor in Theology. Through her community, she is a forever student of rootwork, curanderismo and yoga. As an Aquarius, she thrives on creativity which she shares with the world through writing, photography and creating online content to amplify marginalized voices particularly against white Christian Supremacy.
Director of Ruckus
Meg Sharkey happily serves as the mastermind of operations and evaluation for Soulforce. As Director of Ruckus, Meg coordinates the team’s data collection methods and manages donor relationships, while providing logistical support for the operations and wellness of the organization. Meg received their Masters of Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2017 and joined the Soulforce team in 2020. Originally from the Jersey Shore, Meg now lives in North Carolina with their wife. On the weekends you can usually find them in the garden with their pets.
Karina Vargas Espinoza
Director of the Institute on Spiritual Violence, Healing & Social Change
Karina Vargas Espinoza is Costa Rican, and an educator, feminist theologian, linguist, and psychologist. She holds a Master’s Degree in Global Leadership from Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, California, and a Master’s Degree in Studies of Social and Family Violence from Universidad Estatal a Distancia located in San José, Costa Rica. She currently serves as Director for the Institute on Spiritual Violence, Healing and Social Change, a project of Soulforce. She is also a professor of Liberation Theologies at the Center for World Education and Experience at the University of Augsburg in Minnesota. Among her main research focuses are the power dynamics involved in spiritual-religious violence and therapeutic processes to support survivors of these forms of violence.
Ale Ara Medina
Digital Media Strategist
Ale Ara Medina is a sociocultural facilitator and audiovisual producer, with an academic background in Political Science, Sociology, and Queer & Feminist Theologies. They are a researcher and consultant in political communication, human rights, feminism, and the political participation of young people. They are also a facilitator of Feminist Self Defense workshops for women, girls, and non-binary people. They are passionate about baking, spoken word poetry, practicing parkour, and spending time with their fur-babies.
Yaz Mendez Nuñez
Yaz Mendez Nuñez is a Southern activist and artist, with roots spread in Virginia, North Carolina, and the Caribbean. Prior to joining Soulforce, Yaz served as a campaign organizer and popular education facilitator working on projects pertaining to municipal accountability in policing methods and resiliency in Queer Youth of Color. Yaz holds a Bachelors of Arts in Geography from the University of Richmond, and their academic background is focused in studying and cultivating community sovereignty + self-governance. When they’re not working on fundraising or preparing for divinity school, you can find them on horseback or working on a new fiber art project.
Producer for Teología Sin Vergüenzas
Rú Romero is an anthropologist, facilitator of workshops with a gender and human rights perspective, and promoter of sexual health among women of sexual dissent and plurisexualities. They have worked within non-governmental organizations and institutions, as a researcher, consultant, and audiovisual producer. They are always learning from the art of the joke, the absurd, the stand-up, and the art of the drag king. And is an eternal lover of their companions, their cats.
CasSandra Calin is a Black-Cuban healer in Richmond, VA, who is passionate about spirit work, mental health, indulgence and pleasure, and sustainable diligence. CasSandra has worked in healing and mental health since 2011 and currently works as a clinical therapist. CasSandra’s passion for social justice keeps the systemic and institutional forms of oppression at the front of her mind when thinking about how best to heal and liberate queer and trans Black and Brown people. She is overjoyed to be a part of Soulforce’s work to sabotage white Christian Supremacy, by bringing a trauma informed and culturally responsive lens in order to support an organizational culture of steadiness, sustainability, and spirit.
CasSandra was a member of the 2015-16 Soulforce Southeast House Fellowship and understands firsthand the power of reminding LGBTQ+ people that we have unlimited access to divinity because we are a manifestation of it. When she is not working or drooling over Soulforce, she pursues hobbies as a writer, songbird, chef, and crafty-creator.
Cole Parke-West is a queer & nonbinary trans person, rooted in Durham, North Carolina. Soulforce became their first political home when they climbed onboard the 2008 Equality Ride bus, and they’ve been learning, growing, and transforming alongside the organization ever since. They subsequently participated in a second Equality Ride in 2012, and joined the Board in 2020.
Cole currently works as a statewide community organizer for Carolina Jews for Justice, dedicated to building a powerful progressive Jewish justice movement in the South. Prior to joining CJJ, they spent five years working as a research analyst at Political Research Associates, a social justice think tank dedicated to understanding and interrupting right-wing extremism, including white supremacy, misogyny, xenophobia, antisemitism, and the Christian Supremacy that fuels it all.
Pastor Nadia Tavera
Nadia Tavera is a non-binary pastor and advocator for LGBTQ Latine spirituality and is passionate to promote liberating interpretations of the Scripture through queer and feminist Theology. They led the first group of queer Christian women in Mexico City and launched Café Queer, a safe space for LGBTQ seminarians in the same city.
Nadia holds a Master of Divinity from Pacific School of Religion and is in ordination track with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Currently is Co-pastor of Ministerio Latino and do accompaniment work with newcomers in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Rev. Rhina Ramos
Rev. Rhina Ramos leads Ministerio Latino in Oakland, CA. Her call to ministry was to create a space where Latinx LGBTQI immigrants are welcomed and loved and started Ministerio Latino in December 2011. Rhina has 25 years of experience in non-profit work. Before being a full-time pastor, Rhina has been a lawyer, a community organizer, a facilitator and instigator. Originally from El Salvador, she is proud to come from the land of volcanoes.
delfin w. bautista
delfin w. bautista is a native of Miami, FL with both Cuban and Salvadoran roots. delfín is a social worker, activist theologian, writer, and diversity educator with a Master in Divinity and a Master of Social Work. As a Latinx trans and queer diva of spirit, delfin is passionate about intersectional justice and resilience, especially around the experiences of queer people of color. delfin’s eclectic background includes parish ministry, campus ministry, chaplaincy, child welfare service, trauma therapy, education, writing, and diversity and inclusion work.
tsharre sanders (name only, no 3rd person pronouns*) is a Southern Black queer femme from Selma, North Carolina. tsharre has worked in educational institutions as a youth serving professional since 2016, and recently became a full-time student at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA. After tsharre’s thesis defense in December 2020, tsharre deemed it necessary to have more of a theological grounding to do the work tsharre aspires to do with Black queer youth and their families. tsharre also works part-time as a Program Coordinator with Q Christian Fellowship, an organization dedicated to fostering spaces of radical belonging especially for queer Christian folks. Two of tsharre’s favorite things are karaoke and line dancing because they spark communal joy.
*if absolutely necessary, you may use she/her or they/them pronouns to refer to tsharre.
Eric Enrique Borja
Eric Enrique Borja is the direct descendant of political revolutionaries and labor organizers. Eric grew up listening to his parents speak about El Salvador, about the political climate before the revolution, and about their organizing experience with students and workers before having to leave for the United States. Every day, Eric does his best to honor his family’s legacy through his work as National Digital Director for Somos Votantes and Somos PAC.
Eric brings to his work 10+ years of organizing online and offline, as well as researching the intersection of technology and social movements. As a PhD student, Eric used both qualitative and quantitative methods to understand how movements, like Occupy, the Arab Spring, and Black Lives Matter, used social media to organize people. Then, after his graduate program, Eric led on the Digital strategies of national, state, and local advocacy, legislative, and electoral campaigns. Eric brings a deep love and hope for technology’s potential to liberate us, and a strong commitment to honor his family, his ancestors, and his communities.
Orion Johnstone (they/he) is a transgender faggot living on Lenape land (Yonkers/NYC). They are devoted to the question: “Who and how might we be together most bravely and joyfully in light of our collective liberation?”, and learning from / working alongside Soulforce over the past several years has been transformative for them! They channel their love as a community minister, theatermaker, composer, and sex educator, and they are currently writing a musical about Jesus in which the whole cast is Queer and everybody plays Jesus at some point. They studied Theater at NYU Tisch, Justice Ministries at Auburn, and they were a part of the founding cohort of Alt*Div. You can learn more about them at www.orionjohnstone.com.
We are so honored to be in the movement with these strategic partners, collaborators, and friends:
- Political Research Associates
- Transform Network
- Bend the Arc
- Highlander Center for Research and Education
- Southern Crossroads
- Center for American Progress
- Catholics for Choice
- Women’s March
- Akira Media
- Paul Southwick Law, LLC
- Blueprint NC
- The Freedom Center for Social Justice
- Anti-Racist Research Collective
- Observatory for the Universality of Rights Coalition
- Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID)
- Vanderbilt Divinity School Carpenter Program for Religion, Sexuality, and Gender
- McCormick Theological Seminary
- Duke University Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity
- The Law, Rights, and Religion Project at Columbia Law School
- Proyecto Encuentros de Gracia y Bienvenida UCC
- El Ministerio Latino, Plymouth United Church of Christ Oakland
- Red de Teólogas, Pastoras, Activistas y Lideresas (TEPALI)
- ICM Libres por Amor, México
- Grupo Espiritual Cuir de Puebla, México
- Comunidad Luterana Santísimo Redentor, México
- Católicas por el Derecho a Decidir, México
- Abriendo Brechas de Colores, Cuba
- Q de Cuir Revista, Cuba
- ICM Matanzas, Cuba
- ACCEDER, Costa Rica
- Universidad de Costa Rica
- Ecumenicas por el Derecho a Decidir, Honduras
- Purisaq Warmikuna, Perú
- Católicas por el Derecho a Decidir, Argentina
- Groundswell Fund
- Urgent Action Fund
- Borealis Philanthropy
- E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation
- Collaborative for Gender and Reproductive Equity
- Southern Vision Alliance
- And a huge thank you to all our private donors and comrades, without whom this work would never be possible.