Elle Hearns – Founder and Executive Director

Elle Hearns is an artist, community organizer, speaker, and writer from Columbus, Ohio. She is the Executive Director and Founder of The Marsha P. Johnson Institute and was a co-founding member and former strategic partner of the Black Lives Matter Network.  In her role as  interim Organizing Director, she successfully led campaigns such as, “Raise The Debate” and the #SayHerName National Day of Action.  She is credited for organizing the first ever National Day of Action for Black Trans Women in 2015 in response to the consecutive murders of black trans women. Prior to founding The Marsha P. Johnson Institute and the Black Lives Matter Network, Elle worked for GetEQUAL where she led many campaigns including,  More Than Marriage and Year Without Tamir.
Elle has delivered keynotes and talks at The Movement for Black Lives inaugural convening, Harvard University, Columbia University, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The Public Theatre, and the The National Lawyers Guild.  She has been honored by the Women’s Information Network and Black Women’s Blueprint. In 2017, she was named to Essence’s Woke 100 and as one of the most influential African Americans by The Root 100.  Elle’s writing has been published by The CUNY Law Review and Ebony. Her work has also been featured in TIMECNN, MTV, The New York Times, Democracy Now, and more.

Eva Reign – Digital Media Manager

Eva Reign is an actress, artist and writer from St. Louis. She previously worked at Condé Nast’s LGBTQ+ platform, them. as Assistant Editor. Her writing focused on trans issues and pop culture. Eva can be seen in Tourmaline’s latest projects SALACIA and Mary of Ill Fame coming later this year. She also appeared in Pantene’s beautifuLGBTQ Pride campaign for summer 2019.

Kei Williams – National Organizer

Kei Francis Williams is a queer transmasculine identified organizer, artist, and historian. A founding member and former organizer with Black Lives Matter Global Network, the aims of Kei‘s work is to transform the global culture from the individual into a systemic analysis of structural racism. As lead-organizer on campaigns such as No New Jails NYC, Safety Beyond Policing, and Swipe It Forward, Kei uses their platform to bring in the lived experience of those who are Black, transgender, queer, and gnc. Currently, Kei is the National Organizer with the Marsha P. Johnson Institute and organizer with Peoples Climate Movement – NY.


J Mase III

J Mase III is a Black/trans/queer poet & educator that has worked in the US, UK, and Canada on LGBTQIA+ rights and racial justice in spaces such as K-12 schools, universities, faith communities and restricted care facilities. He is founder of awQward, the first trans and queer people of color talent agency. His work has been featured on MSNBC, Essence Live, Everyday Feminism, Black Girl Dangerous, NPR, Blavity, the New York Times, Buzzfeed, the Root, the Huffington Post, TEDx and more.

Jonathan Lykes

Jonathan Lykes is a Black queer artist, activist and senior policy analyst. Jonathan’s interdisciplinary approach to art, activism and anti-oppression work, merges policy change, artistic expression and activism. Combining these forms of social transformation—and harnessing their synergy—Jonathan works to create awareness, promote personal healing, surmount institutional barriers and generate systemic change. Jonathan’s current position as Director of the Keeping Ballroom Community Alive Network and National co-chair for BYP100 Action Fund situates him to merge his multidisciplinary artistic background with public policy reform, community engagement and systems change work. Lykes is the founder and CEO of JonRah Consulting Partners, an equity consulting firm teaching liberation praxis by pushing the revolutionary edge of systems change. Lykes is also a founding member of Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100), a movement of young adults using a Black queer feminist lens to advocate for community and institutional change, and healing and safety. Jonathan is also the current Artistic Director and Co-producer for BYP100’s freedom song and chant album, The Black Joy Experience, helping to teach holistic energy through the Black radical tradition. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago, where he also received his master’s degree from the School for Social Service Administration.

Rae Nelson, Organizing Fellow

© Copyright 2019 Marsha P. Johnson Institute. All rights reserved.
The Marsha P. Johnson Institute is a fiscally sponsored project of Social Good Fund, a California nonprofit corporation and registered 501(c)(3) organization, Tax ID (EIN) 46-1323531.


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