Denise Hinds

Denise Hinds is the Chief Program Officer for Youth and Family Wellbeing at Good Shepherd Services, where she oversees the agency’s foster care programs, child welfare, and juvenile justice residential programs, supportive housing and other programs for young adults.

In 38 years at Good Shepherd Services, Denise has developed many innovative youth development-driven programs. Most notably, in 2002, she played a significant role in the development and implementation of the Chelsea Foyer, the agency’s first supportive housing program for young adults experiencing homelessness and...

Erica Harrison

My name is Erica D.Harrison aka Ricky aka Ms.Erica. I was born and raised in Harlem New York.I will always cherish the sweet memories of going to the famous Apollo Theater as a child. I would see every artist from James Brown to the complete Motown Review...all for $.90! I always had an interest in the arts such as music, painting, dancing, singing, poetry and all things creative. 

My parents were from the South and they divorced when I was a toddler. I was raised by my mother but my father was always in my life. My mom was a Southern Belle with City Swag. She exposed me to the...

BP Jacquelyn D. Holland

Theologian, activist, teacher, mother and lesbian are all words that describe Bishop Jacquelyn Holland. Born the second eldest of seven children, Bishop Holland learned early on that the strict rules of her Pentecostal faith did not mix well with her yearning for a more freeing experience with God, which would allow for an authentic connection of both sexuality and spirituality.
In an effort to satisfy her spiritual needs as well as her love for music, she joined Lavender Light:  The Black and People of all Colors Lesbian and Gay Gospel Choir. Through this affiliation,...

Gwendolyn (Gwen) Davis

Gwendolyn (Gwen) Davis was born in Washington, Pennsylvania in 1939 and was raised by her grandmother in a suburb of Washington called Lincoln Hill until her grandmother’s death. Davis spent the rest of her childhood and adulthood with her parents in Newark, where she eventually became a nurse. In the 1980s and 1990s, Davis worked directly with HIV/AIDS patients doing intake interviews in emergency rooms and working on awareness campaigns in schools and hospitals. 


Donald Ransom

Since arriving in Newark in the early 1980s, Rev. Don Ransom has worked in the fields of substance abuse and recovery, as well as HIV prevention and education. A central figure in Newark AIDS activism, he was involved with James Credle and others in the pioneering Fire Ball programs of the early 1990s, a member of the city’s first HIV planning council, and remains active with NJCRI and other organizations. As well, he serves as senior reverend at the Unity Fellowship Church NewArk. 

In his oral history interviews, Rev. Ransom talks about queer Newark nightlife, AIDS activism, his...

Taj Shareef

Taj Shareef is an LA/NJ based writer/VO artist. I have always loved great stories, as I found myself glued to the TV for countless hours watching everything from All in the Family to X-Men. As I dove further into fiction I found the literary works of Octavia Butler, Ray Bradbury, Toni Morrison, and Stephen King pivotal to my lens. I obtained a B.A. in Communications and Radio Production from Delaware State University.  

His eclectic interests and desire for inclusive storytelling have led to opportunities to co-write for queer Black LGBTQ scripted series Love @ First Night with ...

Beatrice Simpkins

Beatrice Dolores Simpkins is an alum of Rutgers University-Newark. 

In 2016, Ms. Simpkins became a Rutgers University 250 Fellow – receiving a medal at the “A Day of Revolutionary Thinking”, the culminating event of Rutgers’ 250Th birthday celebration.

She serves as the pro-bono Executive Director of the Newark LGBTQ Community Center and is the Chief Program Officer for The Partnership for the Homeless, located in New York City. In 2021, Ms. Simpkins received the Equality Leadership Award from Garden State Equality and the LGBTQ-Police Community Partnership Award...

Darryl Rochester

After graduating from Weequahic High School in 1971, Darryl Wayne Rochester (March 27, 1953-December 8, 2020) studied dance under the tutelage of Kay Thompson Payne, co-owner of the then well-known Thompson Dance Studio of Newark. He became one of her star pupils. One evening Kay invited Darryl to accompany her to her dance class at the Dance Theater of Harlem in New York. The experience was very intimidating and he left there feeling somewhat inadequate and less confident in his ability as a dancer.  Darryl had an urgent feeling to obtain additional training in dance from a highly...

Kiyan Williams

Kiyan Williams is a multidisciplinary artist from Newark, NJ who works fluidly across sculpture, performance, and video. Kiyan graduated from Science Park High School and went on to earn a BA with honors from Stanford University and an MFA in Visual Art from Columbia University. Their work has been exhibited at SculptureCenter, The Jewish Museum, Brooklyn Museum, and The Shed. They have given artist talks and lectures at The Guggenheim, The Studio Museum in Harlem, Princeton University, Stanford University, Virginia Commonwealth University Portland State University, and Pratt Institute....

Deion Session

Deion Amar “Dee Amar” Session. I rep Newark for life. Rutgers University: Newark. Unapologetically Black & Queer. Live your truth!