Dana Zhang

Dana graduated from New York University with a Bachelor’s in Journalism in 2018, then she set out to find a place where she feels like she can help make a meaningful, tangible effect on the world around her. Driven by her love for creative pursuits that also align with acknowledging and addressing pertinent issues plaguing our socio political climate, Dana wanted to find ways to give back to the communities that inspire us and aspire to create better and more equitable lives for everyone. A fake New York-native because she has spent half her life in Staten Island, and so cannot give directions to anywhere by subway when asked, in her free time Dana loves watching gaming streams and writing fiction stories.

Sarah Myers

Sarah has lived and worked in all four corners of the United States and has spent two decades working in public education. As a recent graduate of Western Governors University, she hopes to use her degree in Marketing and Management to bring a voice to the marginalized and unheard. Sarah is passionate about social justice, education reform and LGBTQ+ equality. In her spare time, you’ll find her snuggled up with a book next to her plants and cat or on a long nature hike with her granddogs and husband.

Sanjar Kurman

sanjar kurmanov is a native kazakh-kyrgyz trans activist with 10 years of experience in feminist LGBTQI rights activism, particularly specializing in trans rights. He was born Muslim and raised in the post-soviet Kyrgyzstan. In October 2021, Sanjar has moved to the US for love. Sanjar held several executive, decision-making and advisory roles: former director of Labrys Kyrgyzstan, member of a Grantmaking Panel at International Trans Fund, an interim Board member of Trans* Coalition in the CCAEE, the project manager at Transgender Europe and Com Com member at MamaCash. Living with multiple identities of being a Muslim, immigrant, Queer Central Asian and a trans person, my lived experience has been shaping the ongoing fight to end violence and discrimination against people with intersecting identities.

Iralba Castillo

Iralba is a Dominican-American woman with over 15 years of experience in development and institutional advancement in the non-profit sector. In her role at Astraea, Iralba is continuing her commitment to serving an soliciting support for underrepresented and marginalized communities. Iralba holds a B.A in English from the College of Mount Saint Vincent and attended Cornell’s Institute for Public Policy. When not working, Iralba enjoys getting outside and spending time with her daughter Valentina.

Kate Fenner-Lux

In over 20 years in nonprofit management and development, Kate has purposefully aligned her work with her values. Her professional contributions have supported research, programming, and service delivery in conservation, institutes for social change, accessible housing, LGBTQ advocacy and trauma-informed care. Kate is also a longtime activist for reproductive justice and clinic escort volunteer. In joining Astraea, Kate is thrilled to be part of an organization that both reflects her feminist values and offers an opportunity to further the mobilization of resources for social justice. Kate lives with her wife, two children, and dog. When not playing “hot lava” she enjoys reading, hiking, ceramics, and random gardening. 

Alejandra-Elektra Urruti

Alejandra-Elektra is a mestiza nonbinary woman of transsexual experience with roots in EurAsia and Abya Yala’s Southern Cone who is currently based on stolen and occupied Seminole & Miccosukee Land. Following her commitment to human rights, she has dedicated her career to strengthening organizations working for the betterment of this world, from long-established institutions like WOLA to young changemakers like No Justice No Pride, a collective she helped found to bring Pride back to its liberatory roots and fight for Trans Justice at the seat of the U.S. Empire on occupied Piscataway land. Alejandra-Elektra holds a BA in Philosophy and Political Science from Indiana University and when not doing movement work can be found reading, writing, dreaming, and connecting with loved ones.  

Neish McLean

Neish McLean is a queer transmasculine Jamaican who is deeply invested in community care, movement resourcing and healing justice. Neish brings over seven years of trans organizing and movement building experience to philanthropy. Neish also brings grantmaking expertise from their experience with GiveOut and the ACTIF Fund. Neish has also supported Astraea’s grantmaking efforts through their previous role as an International Advisor. Neish’s experience, though global, is deeply rooted in the Caribbean which is where their activism thrived. As the Co-Founder of TransWave Jamaica, Neish helped to shift the landscape for trans activism within Jamaica while also providing technical support to LGBTQI+ organizations across the Caribbean region. Neish is also a sports, fitness and adventure enthusiast who might try to convince you that burpees are the best workout.

Leah Beck

Leah is excited to join Astraea as an Executive Assistant! Leah’s professional journey has taken them all over the U.S. and across different sectors, but remains rooted in prioritizing creativity, community, and compassion. They are a musician and artist based in New York.  

Michelle Johnson

Michelle joined Astraea in December 2021 as the Assistant Controller. She brings over 20 years of accounting experience in the proprietary software industry. Prior to Astraea, Michelle worked as a Senior Accountant for SS&C Technologies, managing multiple multi-million dollar portfolios, providing insight and support to external auditors up to and including generation of the financial statements.

Michelle has a BS in Finance from Central Connecticut State University and a MBA – Accounting from Ellis College of New York Institute of Technology. When not working, she enjoys weightlifting, Tang Soo Do martial arts, reading and spending time with family and friends.

Zakiya Robinson

Zakiya Robinson, a graduate of Bethel University, is a first-generation Barbadian American. Passionate about creating nuanced opportunities for Black and Brown communities, they previously served as the Director of Policy and Programs for the NYC Unity Project—NYC’s policy and programming office dedicated to supporting LGBTQ New Yorkers. In this role, Zakiya worked to connect community and government to create pathways towards equity for LGBTQ folx. 

Their most recent work has included promoting the health and safety needs for sex workers, launching Unity Works, the country’s largest and most comprehensive workforce development program ever created for LGBTQIA communities, and spearheading a mutual aid fund for TGNCNB New Yorkers.

Throughout their career, Zakiya has intentionally worked to connect vulnerable communities to resources and designed impactful programs that facilitate lasting communal change. Serving as an organizer and program developer, she is passionate about bringing the folx doing the work on the ground to the table to advocate for themselves–employing the philosophy that folx most impacted by policies should be at the table as primary decision makers. In their spare time, Zakiya facilitates a community tax clinic providing low-income communities with access to free financial literacy and tax prep. Zakiya is a native New Yorker, aspiring master chef, and lover of all things Queer and Black.