CINCINNATI BLACK COMMUNITY FORUM
The Community Forum will be our opening event at Cincinnati Black Pride. The dialogue is intended to bring together diverse leaders in the Black LGBTQ community to talk about a variety of political topics relevant to our experiences in Cincinnati and beyond. With an opening statement by Spencer Black (HRC), and panel moderated by Kai Porter (Mass Action for Black Liberation), we will discuss a variety of topics, ranging from visibility of and discrimination toward our community, to the most effective ways to create social justice, to support for LGBTQ youth in our community.
Spencer will be offering opening remarks about the importance of visibility and action in the Black LGBTQ Community in Cincinnati.
Spencer Black is a native Ohioan born and raised in Columbus. He got his political start as a intern in 2008 working with the Clinton and then Obama field staff. He graduated from Groveport-Madison High School in 2012 going on to THE Ohio State University where he obtained a Bachelorette degree in Marketing and Political Science with a minor in sociology. After college he went to work for the Ohio Democratic Party as a political director in Northwest Ohio. After his time on the 2016 Presidential race he moved to Washington D.C. to be a Legislative assistant for U.S. Representative Joyce Beatty while happy with his job he knew it was an election year so he felt compelled to move back to Ohio and get in the fight, he now is a regional director for the Human Rights Campaign he wasn’t sure what to expect of Cincinnati when he first came here but has now decided to call this city home for sometime.
Rev. Derek A. Terry is an ordained minister and pastor of St. Peter's United Church of Christ in Cincinnati, Ohio. He completed undergraduate and graduate degrees in Chemistry—Biochemistry & Molecular Biology while simultaneously completing his ministerial training work and earning a Masters degree in Divinity. Rev Derek also owns a business development consulting firm where he aids nonprofits and small/medium businesses in the areas of organizational development, leadership development, program development, and fundraising.
In the fall of 2015, Rev. Derek was featured on the three-part season premiere of the Iyanla, Fix My Life Show on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). The host, Iyanla Vanzant, helped him publicly come out to his community as “a gay black man who ministers.” His first book, Good Loves Me and So Do I, was released in October 2015; his second book, The Shattered Ornament, was released in the fall of 2017. Rev. Derek was also recently featured on CNN's Great Big Story, has blogged for The Huffington Post, and hosts a weekly podcast, Chilling on The Porch, with his friend and co-host Dr. Mikkaka.
Kai Porter is one of the leaders of Mass Action for Black Liberation (MABL, formerly Black Lives Matter: Cincinnati). As a bisexual black woman, she knows firsthand that the fight to end the oppression of black people cannot be separated from the fights against sexism and homophobia/transphobia. She has organized against systemic racism, with much of her work focused on police brutality and other types of state violence, for 4 years. She has been living Cincinnati for nearly two years, originally hailing from Orlando, FL. Kai will be serving as moderator for our Community Forum.
Pastor Lesley Jones is a Trailblazer, Founder, Minister, Bridgebuilder, Public Theologian, Radio Show Host, and Social Justice Warrior who is a native of Jones County, North Carolina. She lives in Cincinnati where she founded and now co-pastors Truth & Destiny Fellowship UCC, a progressive, multi-faith, affirming ministry, with her spouse. Considered to be “one to watch” in Cincinnati politics, she finished 12th in 2017 with a field of 27 candidates in her first bid for City Council. Including LGBT folks, women and people of faith in her work she has taken a lead in organizing to increase progressive, African-American political power, influence and impact. Blending her life experiences, professional background and justice journey she will bring a unique perspective and deep insight to the conversation.
Roddrick Thomas is a Cincinnnati born performer and entertainer who is one of the leading cast members at The Main Event downtown. Performing as Rahanna Mitchell St. James, he aspires not just to give one hell of a show, but to also leverage his voice and influence to address issues such as transphobia, HIV/AIDS awareness and stigma, and how to get the drag community more engaged with the policies that impact their lives. He has often felt that drag performers are too often seen as people who just entertain and don't have powerful thoughts and ideas about social justice. Roddrick is stepping up to make a difference in Cincinnati and beyond.
Jayson Douglas is a native of Baltimore, MD and serves as the new Interim Director for the UC LGBTQ Center. He earned his BA in Political Science from Bethune- Cookman University, where he took a particular interest in international human rights and public policy. Jayson anticipates a masters in Criminal Justice in December 2018. His research areas include survival sex work among Black MSM and Black Trans Women and Queer Incarceration. Like Bayard Rustin, Jayson believes,
"Let us be enraged about injustice, but let us not be destroyed by it."
Tennille McKinney is a recent UC graduate originally from Cincinnati holding a degree in International Affairs. Tennille thinks locally and Globally. She is a local community activist and advocate in the LGBTQ community. Tennille is passionate about further research in the areas of HIV/AIDS, Trans youth of color, and making Cincinnati the most inclusive space in America.