Gender Justice: Dismantling Social Hierarchy

Gender Justice is defined by the We the Youth Advisory Council as the systemic redistribution of power, opportunities(resources), and access for all marginalized people. We must dismantle the harmful structures of sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and patriarchy that have stifled the freedom for people to be who they choose to be, where they want to work, how much they are compensated, and where they can live safely without the burden of bigotry and inequality. Gender Justice signifies the inter-sectional approach that centers the needs and experiences of communities affected by discrimination and oppression because of their gender or perceived gender identity.

Cecilia Castellon

Cecilia Castellon

Cecilia Castellon is of Bolivian descent and currently lives with her family in Queens, New York. She is interested in social justice and mental health, believing these issues should be taken seriously because they affect many people almost daily. Voter engagement is another important issue of interest for Cecilia. She would like to have more young people involved in rank-choice-voting at her high school because young people can have a huge impact on elections, especially in New York City.

Cecilia is motivated by her teachers and student leaders who inspire her to continue using a voice to share and speak on issues that personally matter. She is optimistic that her dedication to these issues will convince other students to work hard towards making changes in their community, so young people could live in a world filled with love and peace.

Iris Seal

Iris Seal

Iris Seal lives in the birthplace of Hip Hop, the Bronx, and has roots in Philadelphia and Florida. She is a young feminist who is learning more about her self-identity and her place in a world that marginalizes Black, Indigenous, People Of Color, including women. She proudly stands with the values of the Black Lives Matter movement and wants to contribute to change in her community and America. Even with the inequities she has witnessed in her sixteen rotations around the sun, she remains altruistic, positive, and hopeful. She is often thought of as a “breath of fresh air” and uses kindness to alleviate the negative experiences of others.

Amanda Reynolds

Amanda Reynolds

Amanda Reynolds is 16 years old and Co-Director/Founder of Young Idealist, an organization fighting for equity in arts and education as well as empowering young artists to make social change. Amanda is also an Advisor with We the Youth Advisory Council. She is very passionate about social justice as well as the arts. Currently a junior at the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts where she studies Acting, Amanda is honored to be attending one of the most prestigious high school level art programs in the country. She was born and raised in Queens and she is a proud member of the Caribbean community. During her free time, Amanda indulges in dance, fine art, music, dramaturgy, and films.

Angela Cabrera

Angela Cabrera

Angela Cabrera was born in the Dominican Republic and moved to the United States at the tender age of five. Acculturating into a new country and learning a new language was not an easy task but with her positive work ethic and support from her mother, Angela soon progressed from receiving complaints about lack of participation in school to receiving yearly awards as an upstanding student. She went on to become president of her junior high school class several years in a row and the first female student of the month to ever be elected. Angela took that same drive with her into high school and she was selected from a group of 500 other qualified students to enroll at the New York City Charter High School for Architecture, Engineering & Construction Industries.

With a passion for social justice, Angela is currently an Advisor with We the Youth Advisory Council. She is inspired by her hard-working mother who moved to the United States to give Angela a better life, a life that her mother did not have growing up in the Dominican Republic. Angela hopes to build a foundation for future generations in her family, just as her mother did for her.

Chelsea Cohen

Chelsea Cohen

Chelsea Cohen is a senior attending Great Neck North High School. Speaking at various events and ceremonies over the past year, her passion for social justice continues to increase. As the co-founder of a youth led Black Lives Matter organization and the president and founder of her schools Social Justice Awareness Club, her knowledge of social issues is ever growing as she continues to study intersectionality and the various social issues that affect marginalized groups in different ways. She will be majoring in sociology and criminal justice at the University of Delaware in the fall and aspires to be a part of the change this country needs to see.

Rayan Kouider

Rayan Kouider

Rayan Kouider is turning 17 years old and entering 11th grade at the Michael J. Petrides School in the fall. He has always been very active in his community and enjoys giving back to New York City. He is also a member of the Governor’s New York State Youth Council. Ryan remembers a time in his life when he felt more safe living in the city, and there much less tension than there is today. “There is so much to fight for that shouldn’t have to be fought for, so I decided it was time to take a stand and help make this City better than it has ever been.” Being a part of the MBSK Youth Council has motivated Ryan to turn negativity and violence into a better future. He aspires to attend college and start his own family.

Camille Gaji Expert

Camille Gaji

My name is Camille and I use she/her pronouns. I'm originally from California but have been living in New York for 6 years. I graduated from NYU in 2019 with a Bachelors in Psychology and minor in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Studies. I currently work at the Hetrick-Martin Institute as the Health and Wellness Education Specialist. I've been teaching mental and sexual health education workshops now for 6 years; in-person throughout New York City and online all over the world. For the past 2 years, I predominately worked with LGBTQ+ youth to help them feel comfortable and knowledge about their bodies and their sexual health!

Michelle Greives Expert

Michelle Greives

Michelle (she/her) is a Black feminist, social justice worker, and the Chief Program Officer at Girls for Gender Equity (GGE). In her role at GGE, she works alongside an amazing team to inform direct service and advocacy work. Michelle has over 15 years experience in facilitating conversations about race, oppression, cultivating youth programming, and counseling services, to children and their families.

Rachel Simon Expert

Rachel Simon

Rachel M. Simon (she/they) is an advocate for queer youth currently serving as the Interim Director of Multicultural Affairs and LGBTQA+ Center at Pace University where she also teaches courses in gender studies, literature, creative writing, and film. She is Vice President of the Board of Pride Works for Youth, a nonprofit that holds an annual conference for ~600 LGBTQ+ middle and high school students and their adult advocates in the Hudson Valley. Rachel also serves on the Westchester County LGBTQ Advisory Board.

She holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Sarah Lawrence College in Creative Writing, Poetry, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Colby College in American Studies and Creative Writing. She is a published poet with two collections, Theory of Orange and Marginal Road.

Taryn Smith Expert

Taryn Smith

Taryn Delanie Smith is a graduate student at Saint John's University, aspiring to obtain her master’s degree in International Communications and Intercultural Studies. Pursuing a career in Public Diplomacy, Taryn is a passionate advocate for building stronger communities through open dialogue, and actively seeking to create spaces that are inclusive and diverse. She has spent the past five years as a shelter volunteer and advocate for community members experiencing homelessness.

As Miss City of New York, Taryn served as an ambassador to local shelters as well as facilitating dialogue about issues that directly contribute to inequity within our communities.

As a businesswoman, global community member, and a New Yorker, Taryn is proud to be among those who are ready to fight for a more equal world.

Youth Experts

Asha Lawrence Expert

Asha Lawrence

Asha Lawrence is a senior at Brooklyn Technical High School, headed to the University of Massachusetts Boston in the fall! With roots in London, Asha relocated to New York City seven years ago and currently resides in Harlem. Passionate about social justice, particularly LGBTQ rights, criminal justice reform, and racial equity, Asha is a member of the New York City Commission on Human Rights YES Council. With strong convictions, she has been involved in youth advocacy throughout high school.

Hanging out with friends and biking around the City is how Asha likes to spend time when she is not fighting for the rights of young people.

Arieana Jose Expert

Arieana Jose

Arieana Jose is a spiritual Latinx Trans woman from the Bronx. She is proud of her Dominican culture and honors her ancestors through spiritual practices, music, food, and dances. As a member of the Mayor’s Office to End Domestic Violence and Gender-Based Violence (Youth Leadership Council), she advocates for young people like herself by speaking on ignorance that comes from societal norms that limit us from expressing our true selves spiritually, mentally and physically. Arieana’s endurance comes from being confident in her capabilities and the faith she has in her future. She expresses herself through dance, music, fashion, and cosmetics, using her voice to speak her truths letting it be known she feels and looks pretty while doing so.

Mario Smith Expert

Mario Smith

Mario Smith is a 20-year-old Trans non-binary immigrant who moved to the United States two years ago from Jamaica, initially living in Massachusetts until he moved to New York City where he is affiliated with the Ali Forney Center working on advocacy, work placement, and housing partnership. Mario has been featured in the Herald News for My Town's local fashion show, and The New York Times where he spoke about the Nearing Unity Works Project aimed at providing jobs for LGBT youth that are homeless or at risk. He plans to enroll in college and pursue an esthetician degree and license.

Mario is also a freelance model who enjoys conveying his creativity through imagery and fashion, ultimately striving to inspire and share his journey as a Trans immigrant so that whomever his story reverberates with will know that despite your background, success is possible if you stay committed.

Natasha McCombs Expert

Natasha McCombs

Natasha "Tasha" McCombs (she/her) is an alumna of Temple University and an alumna graduate student of Higher Education and Student Affairs at New York University (NYU), graduating in just one week! She previously interned at the LGBTQA Center at Pace University, as well as the College of Arts and Science at NYU.

As a professional, Natasha is interested in policy reform, equity education, college access, as well as broadening diversity initiatives in higher education. She finds joy in advocating for Black and Brown youth while providing information for access to education and mentorship. Currently, Natasha resides in New York City and is excited about expanding her activism because she approaches difficult conversations with self-awareness, reflection, and action.

SueSuilla Daley Expert

SueSuilla Daley

SueSuilla Daley has been a youth organizer with Girls for Gender Equity (GGE) since 2018 supporting the School Girls Deserve Campaign and other education campaigns in NYC. She is a current member of the National Young Women's Advisory Council 2020-2021 facilitated by GGE. She is a recent NYC high school graduate and made the transition to college during the pandemic and uprisings. She is now a freshman at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City and is majoring in Sociology.

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