In Our Own Voices: Serving the needs of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender
People of Color, our Friends and Families.
Dr. Robert L. Miller, Jr. Board President
Dr. Miller has been affiliated with In Our Own Voices since 2008. He is a funded researcher examining the intersection of HIV prevention and spirituality in the lives of black gay men and transgender women. He also studies social justice and social change in Sub-saharan Africa. As an Associate Professor with tenure at The University at Albany, he teaches in the clinical and policy tracks in the School of Social Welfare. In The School, he also directs The US-Partnership to Build Stronger Communities. This annual educational and cultural travel opportunity to various regions in western, southern and eastern Africa interrogates the policies undergirding the provision of social work services in the areas of child welfare, gender rights and HIV disease. His work also includes consultancies with state and federal agencies in the areas of mental health, spirituality, and HIV disease. Dr. Miller participated in the White House Office on National AIDS Policy Summit. Dr. Miller has held visiting professor appointments in the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, The University of California, San Francisco Medial School as well as Addis Ababa University, Barhir Dar University (Ethiopia) and The University of The Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa (the departments of Social Work, Theology and Religion). Dr. Miller most recently is the Inaugural Research Fellow for The Desmond Tutu Center for Spirituality and Society.
Dr. Angela Ledford, Treasurer
Dr. Ledford received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of South Carolina. She is also Professor-in-Residence at the New York State Assembly, teaching the academic component of the Assembly Internship Program. She specializes in contemporary political theory (particularly gender theory and transnational social movements and collective violence). She teaches courses that primarily center on race, class, and gender. These courses include: Modern Political Thought; Race and Mass Incarceration; Feminist Theory; Social Movements, Power, and the State; the Politics of Race and Representation; Political Ideologies; New York State Politics; and Marx and Marxism.
Rhonda Daniel, Board Secretary
Rhonda Daniel is a native of Jackson, MS. There she was able to receive her Certificate in Graphic Print Communications from Hinds Community College. Prior to relocating to the Capital District area, Rhonda served on a diverse team of ten in Vicksburg, MS for 10 months with AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) FEMA Corps. During this time, she completed over 1700 hours of volunteer service in conjunction with FEMA Reservist to disseminate disaster relief information to survivors in affected areas. Rhonda went on to continue her volunteer service as an AmeriCorps VISTA*Fellow partnered with Siena College for two years; serving at Parsons Child and Family Center. At the conclusion of her second VISTA term, Rhonda was hired on as the Student Intern & Volunteer Specialist at Northern Rivers Family of Services. Currently, she is responsible for the recruitment of volunteers and student interns placed in various programs within the agency. She also facilitate Independent Living Skill groups in an off campus group home for young adults ages 18-21 based on the Ansell Casey Life Skills.
Dr. Sean Chappin
Dr. Sean R Chappin, MD is currently the medical director of Pinnacle Behavioral Health. Sean graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in archaeological studies, and continued his education at New York University Medical School. After graduating from his residency program in Psychiatry at Beth Israel Medical Center, Sean continues his studies at NYU with a fellowship in Addiction Psychiatry. Sean eventually became an assistant professor at NYU, working specifically at Bellevue hospital where his focus was not only on addiction psychiatry, but as well as forensic and emergency psychiatry. As an assistant professor, Sean was also in charge of teaching fellows, residents, and medical students. Sean continued his academic career when he became the assistant director of the addiction fellowship program at Beth Israel Medical Center (BIMC). While at BIMC, Sean also became an assistant professor at Yeshevia University. After a 1 year period as Chairman of Psychiatry at Samaritan Hospital, Sean joined Pinnacle to specialize in community psychiatry. His work continues to be focused on LGBT, minority, immigrant, marginalized populations and addiction needs in the Capital Region.
Brian Coffin is currently the Legislative Director for a Member of the NYS Assembly representing a portion of the Capital District. He considers himself a long-time progressive activist and student of New York State politics. Brian was previously the Director of Legislative and Political Affairs at the Empire State Pride Agenda, during which time he helped craft the successful legislative campaign to pass marriage equality and the Dignity for All Students Act into law. He also worked with the transgender community and allies to pass the Gender Expression Non Discrimination Act (GENDA) in the NYS Assembly. Brian came onto the In Our Own Voices board of directors in August 2014.
Geri Pomerantz, Esq
Geri Pomerantz has been an attorney committed to public interest law for over 30 years. She welcomes the opportunity to participate as a member of the IOV Board of Directors.
Ms. Pomerantz had a private law practice in East Greenbush, New York, for about 10 years, focused on family and matrimonial law, specifically including LGBTQ families. One of her important cases, pro bono, was Dickerson v. Thompson, involving recognition and termination of civil unions by a New York Appellate court on the eve of marriage equality in NYS. As a volunteer, Geri co-founded IOV's Legal Clinic program.
Ms. Pomerantz is currently a Managing Attorney at the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York, where she supervises the foreclosure prevention project and medical legal partnership. Her prior legal experience includes: supervising attorney at LASNNY, where she oversaw several projects, including the domestic violence and HIV units; staff attorney, Prisoners' Legal Services of New York; the first director of the HIV Unit at Harlem Legal Services; staff attorney, domestic violence unit of Legal Services of the Hudson Valley; and a Visiting Professor and Director of Albany Law School's Domestic Violence Clinic. Ms. Pomerantz is a member of the New York State Bar Association Committee on LGBTQ people, and is the Chair of the Capital District Women's Bar Association LGBT committee.
Geri is a 1987 graduate of Northeastern University School of Law, and obtained her undergraduate degree from Empire State College. She lives in Rensselaer County, with her spouse Gwen Wright, dog Sadie and cat Spyder. They have three grown children, and four amazing grandchildren.
Research Focus: Mycobacterial posttranslational protein splicing as a promising new antimicrobial platform to address the global health burden of tuberculosis. Characterize and test splicing inhibitors of mycobacterial DnaB, SufB, and RecA inteins.
Ra Monne "Ray" Perez-Pearson
Ra Monne Ray Perez-Pearson is the Marketing Director for LION Group, Inc., headquartered in Dayton, OH. He is responsible for strategic planning, development, and implementation of marketing activities for the BullEx and LION brands. Both brands provide a full line of fire, rescue and safety training equipment to its customer base worldwide.
Ray brings over 12 years of experience crafting marketing strategies and driving innovation for Fortune 500 brands within the consumer packaged goods and durables industries. Some notable brands include: Kraft Foods, Oscar Mayer, Martha Stewart, Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, Jenn-Air, Mattel, and American Girl. For example, Ray spearheaded the commercialization of the Oscar MayerTM Selects hot dog product family, a revolutionary hot dog platform created without added nitrates and nitrites.
Prior to his career in marketing, Ray served 7 years as a commissioned officer in the United States Air Force. During this time, he led a 90-person team providing law enforcement, force protection, and security support for resources worth over $750 million. He also managed personnel and administrative support for a 239-person missile squadron.
Ray holds a Bachelors degree in Communication from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. He also holds a Master of Business Administration degree in Executive Management from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin.