Kyli comes to Astraea with a background in grassroots social justice movements, art, and dance. She is grateful to have learned alongside folks at The Center for Anti-Violence Education (CAE), a comprehensive trauma-informed leadership and physical empowerment organization based in Brooklyn, NY that centers the needs and power of folks who experience intersecting identity-based oppression and interpersonal violence. After building strength in CAE’s programs, she spent five years there growing into roles spanning development (with an emphasis on government funding), communications, office administration, and data manipulation. She holds a BFA in Dance with a minor in Gender Studies from The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In addition to her work supporting grantmaking at Astraea, she makes and performs dance-based work throughout NYC and abroad. She is originally from Alaska.
Biola Odunewu is a multi-channel communications specialist and entrepreneur with 15 years of experience in strategy, operations, marketing, and product development. For more than a decade and prior to joining Astraea, she owned and managed a successful and popular neighborhood cafe in Brooklyn providing a haven for food, a safe space for ideas or the solitary cup of coffee. Before that, she worked as a writer and executive producer for a wide range of traditional and new media platforms (both national and international), including CNN, ABC and HyperTV Networks, creating featured stories and content, interactive programming for live weekly broadcasts and more. Biola received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism (with a concentration in International News and Politics) from Georgia State University. She is originally from Nigeria and has lived in New York for 25 years. In addition to English, Biola speaks Yoruba.
Marina Gonzalez Flores serves as Program Associate for the Global Philanthropy Project. Previously, Marina worked at Citizens Committee for New York City supporting organizers and grassroots neighborhood improvement projects through resources and micro grants. Marina graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a bachelor’s degree in Politics and Latin American and Latino Studies and from Columbia University with a master’s degree in Human Rights Studies. Marina is not only committed to supporting funders in reaching marginalized LGBTI communities but is also committed to localizing rights at home in New York City and Mexico. Marina continues to organize locally as a doula, in her community garden, and through Sister Diaspora for Liberation, a feminist collective.
Hanna is a queer activist and unapologetic anti-zionist Jew from Los Angeles with ten years’ experience in grassroots organizing for environmental defense, reproductive rights, prisoner support, migrant justice, tenants’ rights, and elevating sexual assault survivors in alternative communities. While pursuing her undergraduate studies, she worked within her student government and statewide student association to advocate for affordable tuition and policy wins for accessible services to low-income, undocumented, and trans students. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Portland State University, where she discovered her love of grant writing. Hanna is excited to cut her teeth in nonprofit development for Astraea and to expand her ability to facilitate change for an organization that reflects her values. She digs film, photography, diy, punk, and retracing her family’s roots in Brooklyn.
Mihika is a human rights and gender justice advocate, dedicated to uplifting and amplifying the voices of intersectional feminist communities worldwide. She believes in the distinct power of storytelling to create policy and culture change around gender norms and injustices. Mihika joins Astraea after completing a Master’s degree from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, with a concentration in Human Rights and Humanitarian Policy, and specializations in Technology, Media, and Communications, and Gender and Public Policy. She has a background in strategic communications, grassroots advocacy and has previously worked with the NGO Committee on the Status of Women in New York to convene their annual NGO conference, which brings together over 100 global gender rights organizations on the sidelines of the UN Commission on the Status of Women. Mihika is a proud South Asian woman, who was born in India, raised in the UAE, and feels most at home in New York.
Lame Olebile is a Pan-Africanist, queer feminist passionate about social justice. Her experience is in human rights with a strong background in LGBTQI issues and a wealth of experience in the LGBTQI movement. Formerly a human rights projects officer with the Ngamiland Council of NGOs, she led a human rights education project on LGBT, disability and children’s rights in the district. As the coordinator of Pan-Africa ILGA, she worked closely with LGBTQI organizations in Sub-Saharan Africa. As part of her role as coordinator of the Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana, LEGABIBO, she initiated a strategic litigation project where LEGABIBO challenged the government of Botswana’s refusal to formally recognise the association. Olebile also worked at the Durban Lesbian and Gay Community and Health Centre as the research and mainstreaming officer where she worked on lesbian women’s sexual health issues. Prior to that she was an advocacy officer and researcher with the LEGABIBO and conducted advocacy projects locally, internationally and at the United Nations for the same organisation. Olebile completed her studies in Political Science and Administration and is currently pursuing a Master of Philosophy degree in Natural Resources Management. Her main interests in social justice are issues of sexuality and gender. Olebile is also an adviser for the FRIDA, Young Feminist Fund.
Jay-René Kouassiaman is an African American man of trans experience. He has worked closely with LGBQ and Trans/GNC youth and adults of color for 12+ years, in a variety of roles, including health educator, case manager and community organizer. Jay-René is committed to advancing the inclusion of LGBQ and trans/GNC people in schools and communities, both personally and professionally. He has a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies/Critical Psychology from California Institute for Integral Studies.
When not working, Jay-René enjoys spending quality time with family and friends, global travel and off the beaten path adventures, exploring the local art scene, and eating delicious snacks.
Irvin Lozano began his college education pursuing a degree in Biology. With the help of a close friend, he landed a job in finance at a manufacturing company, and over the course of 6 years taught himself the in’s and out’s of basic accounting. As he learned on the job, he developed a love for accounting and finance, which inspired him to pursue a degree in Accounting. He comes to Astraea to learn more about non-profit accounting. With the knowledge and point-of-view he brings to Astraea, he is excited to grow with the organization.