The Elevate Fellowship advances transgender women of color in the South by effectively increasing their leadership capacity to navigate and improve public health systems. This program, rooted in skills building and professional and leadership development, consists of one intensive in-person training and three interactive webinars that lead to an increase in competencies improving health outcomes within the Black and Latinx transgender community. Apply Now.
Participants will receive a stipend upon completion of the fellowship and may apply for Continuing Education (CE) credits.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are more than 1.1 million Americans currently living with HIV and approximately 40,000 new infections every year. While HIV affects Americans from all walks of life, the virus continues to disproportionately impact members of the LGBTQ community. Transgender women are disproportionately affected by HIV and AIDS, with an estimated HIV prevalence rate of 22%.
October 2019 — July 2020
In-Person Training Dates & Location
October 30, 2019 — November 2, 2019
Washington, DC (all travel and lodging expenses paid by HRCF)
- The program is open to applicants who identify as transgender women of color -- including non-binary and trans-feminine people.
- Must reside in Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi or Texas
- Must have at least one year of experience in direct services and or advocacy work; affiliation with a minority-serving community-based organization is preferred but not required
- Must be willing to commit to a one-year cohort
- Must be committed to advancing access and equality for transgender women of color
September 13, 2019
Ruby Corado — She/Her/Hers
Ruby Corado was born in El Salvador. She has devoted the last 25 years to advocating for the inclusion of trans and GNC people in mainstream society. Ruby is a self-made, tireless advocate and leader for social justice, and her hard work has helped gain legal protections in Washington, D.C. She has fought for LGBTQ human rights, transgender liberation, immigration equality and access to heath care and fought against hate crimes/violence and many other disparities and issues facing the communities that she represents. Ruby is now the Executive Director of Casa Ruby, D.C.'s only multicultural LGBTQ center.
Valerie Spencer — She/Her/Hers
Valerie Spencer is a healer who has coupled her intuition with the gift of communication for over 20 years, focusing on health disparities as it relates to transgender persons and others within LGBTQ communities of color. She has worked with the federal government, health departments, universities, conferences and community-based organizations around the country. Her work spans from community engagement, behavioral health consultation and, of course, those key note addresses she is famous for. The directive she gives herself is simple, to make the complex comprehensive. Valerie Spencer holds a master's degree in social work from California State University Long Beach and is preparing to pursue doctoral studies in holistic psychology.
Arianna Lint — She/Her/Hers
Arianna Lint is the Executive Director of Arianna's Center, a community-based organization that provides advocacy, education and training, case management and linkage to care for transgender men and women in South Florida and Puerto Rico, and is also part of the National Board of Translatina Coalition, Prevention Access Campaign and the Well Project. She is a refugee from Lima, Peru, and law graduate of Universidad de San Martin de Porres. Arianna has spoken at dozens of trans and HIV-related conferences and she worked consulting for the White House's National HIV/AIDS Strategy and CDC. She is an outspoken advocate for trans women living with HIV and the need of expanding PrEP access to the transgender community.
Tori Cooper — She/Her/Hers
Tori Cooper is a consultant and Prevention Specialist at Positive Impact Health Centers in metro Atlanta. She eared a Bachelor of Arts degree in human services and is matriculating toward her Master of Arts in public health. She has over 30 years of experience in HIV, first serving as a volunteer near the beginning of the epidemic and eventually making a full career change to focus on the HIV epidemic. Tori is committed to ensuring health and financial equity for the transgender and HIV communities.
Venton Jones — He/Him/His
Venton C. Hill-Jones represents a new generation of national leaders committed to advancing health equity and social justice through 15 years of experience implementing innovative programs, public policy, leadership development and training. Since the beginning of his career, Venton has been a tireless advocate on the front lines of reducing health disparities, particularly HIV/AIDS in the U.S. South. In addition to the skill sets above, Venton brings non-profit management, events management and community organizing and development experience. Currently, Venton serves as Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Southern Black Policy and Advocacy Network (SBPAN.)
HRC Program Staff
J. Maurice McCants-Pearsall, HRC Director of HIV and Health Equity — He/Him/His
Meghan Kissell, Director of Project One America — She/Her/Hers
Rishard Butts, HBCU Program Manager — He/Him/His
Keo O'Neal, Foundation Assistant — He/Him/His