LGBTQ+ spirituality

Marina Carreira

Marina Carreira is a queer Luso-American multidisciplinary artist from Newark, NJ. She holds a BA in English from Montclair State University and an MFA in Creative Writing from Rutgers University. Marina works in higher education as School Office Manager for the College of Education at Kean University and as adjunct professor of English at Essex County College.  She is founding member of “Brick City Collective”, a multicultural, multimedia group of Newark-based artists working for social change, and also works as a poet in the Geraldine R. Dodge “Visiting Poets in Schools” program.

Juliana Moraes

Bio forthcoming.

William Courson

Bill Courson was born and raised at the Jersey shore (his hometown is Avon by the Sea) and relocated to and has lived in Montclair, NJ since from 1978.

A student at Brookdale and Monmouth Colleges in the the early 1970’s, he feels fortunate to have lived through and participated in a period of political activism and social and cultural ferment that witnessed the birth of the contemporary movement for LGBT equality.  Along with a handful of other lesbians and gay male students, he co-founded the Gay Student Union, the first LGBTQ group at both colleges. 

In 1986 he...

Noelle Lorraine Williams

Noelle Lorraine Williams is an artist whose life's work exemplifies her continued interest in engaging individuals in conversations about community and spirituality using art, history and contemporary culture.


She was born in Jersey City in 1975 and moved to 16th Avenue and 21st street on the borderline between Newark/Irvington in 1987.  She lives, works and studies in Newark currently.


Over the past thirty years, Noelle Lorraine...

Aleix Martinez

Aleix Martinez is a longtime Newark resident, music industry communications specialist, and artist across multiple platforms. His work as a publicist in the music industry has focussed on representing and championing LGBT artists including Morrissey, Sia, Anohni, Scissor Sisters, Chavela Vargas, The Gossip, Nomi Ruiz, and Mika as well as singular artists like Santigold, Grace Jones, Tori Amos, Nancy SInatra, and The Cramps.

His art explores the intersections of ambition, luxury, hypercapitalism, and gentrification. His video work Insatiable, largely filmed in Newark,  debuted...

Janyce Jackson Jones

Reverend Janyce Jackson Jones, a prominent and respected leader in the community retired after 21 years of dedicated service to her church and to social justice in the city of Newark.
Janyce L. Jackson Jones served as Co-Pastor of Unity Fellowship Church located in Newark, NJ.  UFC Newark, is a member of the non-denominational Unity Fellowship Church Movement, a Social Justice Ministry that seeks to minister to all people, regardless of race, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, or ethnicity.
Prior to Co-Pastoring at UFC Newark, Reverend Jackson served...

Marleny Franco

Marleny Franco has been a Horticulturist helping people grow food for over thirty-five years.  She holds a Master’s degree in Plant Physiology from Rutgers University and worked as an Agricultural County Agent and professor at Rutgers University for eleven years before moving on to establish and run an environmental horticultural non-profit organization called: Greater Newark Conservancy. 
Through her work with the Greater Newark Conservancy she was successful in encouraging thousands of individuals to garden across the state and other locations within the US.  After twelve years...

Kysheif DeGraffenreid

Kysheif DeGraffenreid was born and raised in Newark, NJ attending some of the finest schools from St. Benedicts to Montclair State University earning a Bachelors in Sociology. His academic career has led him to provide mental health counseling to many of his peers in the neighborhood. After working for many years in community and public health, Kysheif launched KD REID Interiors to pursue his passion. KD Reid Interiors, which was established in 2020, addresses interior design entirely from the standpoint of the client. This tactic and Reid's distinctive, individual designs are only two of the...

Margaret Woods

Margaret L. Woods is currently the President/Chief Executive Officer of Independence:  A Family of Services, Inc., a multi-service agency serving high risk, socially disadvantaged youth and families residing primarily in the Greater Newark area.  She is the former Associate Director of the New Jersey Governor’s Committee on Children’s Services Planning.  In addition, she has served as the Executive Director of both Tri-City People’s Corporation in Newark, New Jersey and the Partnership for Neighborhood Safety, Inc. in New York City.  She is a former staff member of the National Council on...

Perris Straughter

Perris Straughter is the Director of Planning for Queens and Staten Island for the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. He is charged with leading the planning activities related to affordable housing development and preservation for these boroughs, the City’s two largest by land area. Previously he was Supervising Planner in the City of Newark, where he coordinated the development approvals process for the City. During his tenure in Newark Perris also managed a $20 million commercial revitalization program and served as the coordinator of Newark's mural program,...