Mona (they/them/theirs) is a Roger Arliner Young (RAY) Program Coordinator at ELP. They are a proud, black non-binary queer (with roots from Cuba and the Dominican Republic) who was born and raised in the Soundview/Parkchester neighborhood of the boogie-down Bronx. Growing up in a densely populated, urban community exposed them to the realities of inequity when it comes to environmental conditions and how it all ties in together with other socioeconomic realities. Through lots of time, research, and life experience in and outside of The Big Apple, they have discovered not only how to live life authentically but also how to find ways to build community and draw others together who are values-aligned to do the good work.
Mona has over nine years of professional experience and over five of those years working directly in non-profit organizations that focused on supporting the needs of marginalized communities. They previously helped launch and co-lead the RiseOut Activist-in-Residence fellowship program at The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center in New York City, supporting the needs of Black LGBTQ+ New Yorkers. This program was created in connection with RiseOut, The Center’s statewide LGBTQ+ advocacy initiative. Now located in Atlanta, Georgia, Mona continues to work in the nonprofit world to help ensure that BIPOC folks feel seen, safe, and empowered to become the next future leaders.
When not thinking of ways to build equity for all, you can find them tending to their three cats–Olivia, Archie and Rain–and their bearded dragon Lucy. You will also find them obsessing over the latest Star Trek episode, spending numerous hours farming on Stardew Valley, and most likely singing a song from Grease at karaoke.