In Conversation: Black Trans Women on Resilience and Strength

Saturday, June 15, 2019, 2–3:30 pm | James Moore Theater
Saturday, June 15, 2019 - 2:00pm

Join us for a panel featuring three generations of black trans women discussing transgender rights, policies that affect the trans community, creating community and family, and what it might mean to imagine a safe and equitable queer future. This panel will feature Sharyn Grayson, activist and Chief Operations/Financial Officer of the Griffin-Gracy Educational Retreat & Historical Center, Valerie Spencer, social services specialist and Capacity Building Consultant, Ebony Ava Harper, Program Associate at The California Endowment, and Aria Sa’id, Executive Director of Compton’s Transgender Cultural District.

The discussion will be moderated by Nico Calvo Rosenstone, Communications Officer at the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund. Don’t miss this opportunity to engage in a thoughtful discussion with this family of activists and learn more about supporting LGBTQ+ communities.

Tickets are $20 for general admission and $16 for Members. Ticket does not include gallery admission.

» buy tickets



Sharyn Grayson
Sharyn Grayson is a seasoned nonprofit business development consultant and transgender advocate. She is considered an elder leader among the national LGBTQI neighborhood and healthcare community sectors. Currently, she is the Chief Operations/Financial Officer of The Griffin-Gracy Educational Retreat & Historical Center, also known as the House of GG. During the early years of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, Sharyn worked in various administrative and program management roles with several nonprofit Bay Area AIDS Service Organizations and Community-Based Organizations. She has received numerous awards and special commendations for her pioneering HIV program achievements with many organizations and service providers across the country. Prior to her career in social justice and nonprofit community services, Sharyn taught business education, and years later in 2006, she reorganized her private company operations to offer a full range of services and resources that support the economic growth, development, and sustainability of community-based/grassroots organizations, nonprofit corporations, and small businesses that positively impact the lives of transgender people. 


Valerie Spencer
For over two decades, Valerie Spencer has worked in social services, focusing on health disparities as it relates to transgender people and others within LGBT communities. Valerie co-starred in the 2004 V-Day production of, The Vagina Monologues, featuring an all trans women cast and the accompanying documentary, Beautiful Daughters, which aired on LOGO and Showtime networks. In 2011, Christopher Street West CSW – LA Gay Pride honored Valerie with the prestigious Berman Shaffer award, which was given for her years of community service in progressive action. In this same year, the California Legislative LGBT caucus conferred upon her a state resolution recognizing her as a statewide and national leader in the movement for LGBT political and social freedoms. She is the creator of Holistic Empowerment Institute, an organization which addresses empowerment on a social, cultural and holistic basis for LGBT communities. Valerie is a Behavioral Health counselor at APAIT providing general and trans-affirming therapy.


Ebony Ava Harper
Ebony Ava Harper is a Sacramento-based activist and philanthropist who fights for the rights of trans citizens and other marginalized groups. Harper is a Program Associate at the California Endowment Health Foundation, an organization that works to expand healthcare access for marginalized and underserved communities. Through her professional career and her activism Harper has helped to shift culture for queer communities in Sacramento. From creating healing spaces, to employment opportunities to Chyna Gibson Memorial Mural, to LGBTQ+ community needing love and support Harper never fails to show up for her community time and time again.




Aria Sa'id
Aria Sa'id is an award winning political strategist and transgender advocate based in San Francisco. She is a Founder and Executive Director of the Compton's Transgender Cultural District, the first of its kind in the world. She previously served as the San Francisco Human Rights Commission of San Francisco City Government as the commission's LGBT Policy Advisor, focusing on social issues including LGBT violence prevention, sex worker rights, islamophobia, and more. She is a Policy Fellow alum of the Women's Foundation of California's Women's Policy Institute.






Nico Calvo Rosenstone
Nico Calvo Rosenstone is the Communications Officer at the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund in San Francisco. He also serves as a consultant with the Transgender Strategy Center, where he works with organizations to ensure that their policies and practices are LGBTQ+ inclusive. Before moving to the Bay Area, Nico led recruitment and retention for the Emergency Medicine Research Division at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Ohio. He also oversaw clinical research on patient and staff attitudes about HIV testing to improve early diagnosis. Nico co-chairs Horizons Young Professionals for Equality (HYPE), which works to empower the next generation of philanthropists and unite emerging LGBTQ+ leaders in the Bay Area through grant making. He is also a 2018 Grantmakers United for Trans Communities (GUTC) Fellow. This March, Nico authored an article entitled, “Trans-forming’ the Workplace to Be Transgender Inclusive” the Stanford Social Innovation Review.