July 13, 2020

Color Matters: Law Enforcement Interactions

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Color Matters: Law Enforcement Interactions

The first Color Matters webinar – Law Enforcement Interactions – will premiere on July 22, 2020, at 6:00 PM Eastern.

The first conversation will be moderated by Nikole Parker (Director of Special Projects, Equality Florida).

She will be joined by Captain James Young (Deputy Chief, Orlando Police Department), Aryah Lester (Deputy Director, Transgender Strategy Center), Ty Williams (Project Coordinator, Community Education Group), and Chanel Haley (Gender Policy Manager, Georgia Equality, Inc.).

Those interested may register for the first webinar may do so by visiting the event registration page.

About the Guests

Nikole Headshot 2020, Community Education Group
Project Director
TransAction Florida
Equality Florida

Nikole Parker is the TransAction Florida Project Coordinator, assisting with Equality Florida's statewide Transgender Inclusion Initiative. She also currently works for the onePULSE Foundation as the Stakeholder & Community Relations Manager.

Nikole has sat on various non-profit boards within the community, including the LGBT+ Center Board of Directors, the Orlando United Assistance Center Advisory Board, TransAction Advisory Council, Spektrum Health Board of Directors and Peer Support Space Board of Directors.

In addition to her work with the onePULSE Foundation, Nikole co-leads the work of the Orlando Trans Collective, a collaborative group of transgender and gender non-conforming leaders of color who focus on community building and advocacy efforts for the Central Florida transgender community.

In 2018, Nikole was honored with the Humanitarian of the Year award by the Miss Glamorous Pageant. Nikole was also was recognized as one of Watermark's Most Remarkable People of 2018 for her work with the onePULSE Foundation and her ongoing advocacy and empowerment of the transgender community.

In 2019, Nikole was recognized by Congressman Darren Soto for LGBT+ Pride Month and her biography was read into the Congressional Record. She hopes to encourage open dialogue on transgender issues and educate individuals from the community on healthy and safe ways to undergo a transition, finding self-care practices and providing resources so black market hormones and unsafe lifestyles can be avoided.


James Young 768x1024, Community Education Group
Deputy Chief James Young
Orlando Police Department

James “Jim” Young has been working in law enforcement for 30 years. He Grew up in northern Ohio, and upon completing High School, he entered the U.S. Air Force at age 17. He worked in the Security Police field and served tours within the U.S., Central America and the Middle East. He was honorably discharged in 1990. He joined the City of Pinellas Park Police Department in 1990 where he served in patrol, criminal investigations, undercover drug unit, gang unit, SWAT and as special assignment in Chief’s staff. Jim Young earned Officer of the Year in 1996 while completing his Bachelor’s Degree in criminology at St. Leo University, graduating Magna Cum Laude. He left (PPPD) at the end of 1996 to continue a full-time education in law. He was also named St. Leo’s Citizen of the Year in 1995 for his work with non-profits and within minority and underserved neighborhoods, always trying to help others.

He returned to law enforcement in 1997 by joining the Orlando Police Department. In his first several years he worked in various sections of patrol, FTO, ASL, special operations and crime prevention. He was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in 2010, and has served as a patrol supervisor, Mounted Patrol Supervisor and Media Relations Supervisor. He also served on the FDLE Training/Standards Commission for recruit curriculum and state testing. In 2014, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant. He served as a patrol watch commander, Special Patrol Section Commander, Traffic Enforcement Section Commander and Staff Director for the Chief of Police. He also served as the awards committee chair. In 2018, he was promoted to Captain. He served as the East Patrol Division Commander, and the Community Relations Division Commander. He also served as the agency’s alternate Labor Advisor and the co-chair for the Strategic Planning Committee.

Jim has received many department awards and recognitions over the years, including serval commendations and a lifesaving award.
He served in every position in various ranks on the Crisis/Hostage Negotiation Team, from Negotiator, Team Leader, Deputy Team Commander and Team Commander over an 18+ years on CNT.

Young also served as the departments lead LGBT Liaison from 2014-2017, helping to launch the Safe Place Program. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Harvey Milk Foundation for his many years work to help ensure equality for everyone.

Jim Young is an instructor in several fields of expertise. He has instructed here at OPD and other local agencies, in addition to Nationally and Internationally. He continues to work closely with the US Department of Justice Community Resource Section on national law enforcement training programs in Diversity and Inclusion. In addition, he assists the International Dignitary Visitor programs through the US State Department.

He also served as his neighborhood association vice president for more than 15 years. Jim often volunteers with many community organizations and has served on many bards. Jim is married to his husband Chaz Butler, and they have 2 dogs. The continue to live within the City Limits, and Jim has done so since working for OPD.


Aryah Lester Head Shot 706x1024, Community Education Group
Aryah Lester
Deputy Director
Transgender Strategy Center

Aryah Lester, nationally awarded author, as well as a speaker and educator, is a black woman of transgender experience from New York living in Washington DC. Ms. Lester was the last-standing 2-term Chair for the State of Florida Health Department's Transgender Work Group, former Chair-Elect of the Miami-Dade HIV/AIDS Partnership, and is an Advisory Board member of Unity Coalition (UC|CU).

Ms. Lester is a board member of Equality Florida's TransAction Florida committee, and helped to create the TransArt series with the Betsy Hotel, the LGBT Visitors Center, and UC|CU. She also sat as a member on the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) Transgender Networking Group. Ms. Lester is also Board Chair of STARR, the nation’s first transgender organization initially founded by Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson, and Advisory Board Member for Gilead Sciences, The Well Project, and ViiV Healthcare.

Aryah Lester founded the organization Trans-Miami during her time as a expert consult member of the Miami Enhanced Comprehensive HIV Prevention Plan for the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and 12-Cities Project, as well as continued the work of her organization, the National Alliance of Transgender Advocates and Leaders (NATAL). She contracts with universities as a guest lecturer, and is a consultant with government agencies such as the Department of Justice and Homeland Security. Ms. Lester has been recognized with many awards, featured in numerous national articles, and recently was inducted into the national Trans100 list.

She currently works as Deputy Director of the Transgender Strategy Center.


Ty Williams E1592782678585, Community Education Group
Ty Williams
Project Coordinator
Community Education Group

Ty Williams has been with CEG since March 2020, and serves as our Project Coordinator for our People Worth Knowing video series, and will be spearheading CEG's forthcoming Trans Health series.

Ty recently serve as the Host and Moderator for CEG's first ever YouTube Live event, Learning Our Roots: A Journey Through Transmasculinity, on Tuesday, June 30th, 2020 at 6:00 PM Eastern.

In addition to his work at CEG, Ty also serves as the Director of Operations at FLUX and on the Leadership Council at Black Transmen, Inc., and is also a brother of the Alpha Omega Kappa Incorporated fraternity, a fraternity for Transmasculine and Transmen.

Ty's first blog post - Trans People Are Black People, Too - debuted, in June 2020, over at CEG's Community Perspectives blog, where he will be regularly featured as one of our bloggers.

Ty is a Trans rights activist, motivational speaker, advocacy educator, organizer, chef, and violist.


Chanel Haley, Community Education Group
Chanel Haley
Gender Policy Manager
Georgia Equality, Inc.

Chanel Haley started volunteering with various non-profit organizations trying to advance the rights for the LGBT community in 2005.

In 2008 Chanel took a crash course in political campaign training. That training was immediately used in helping to elect the nation’s first African-American OUT lesbian elected to a general assembly, Simone Bell. Chanel became the weekend volunteer coordinator for that campaign, and later office manager and volunteer coordinator for future campaigns. Later, during 2010-2014 the Senior Legislative Aide to Georgia State Representative Simone Bell.

Chanel became the first African-American Transgender person hired by the Georgia House of Representatives assigned to four Republicans and three Democrats. In 2014, Chanel Haley was appointed to the City of Atlanta Human Relations Commission by Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell. Later to be elected Chairperson in 2016-2018. Making her the first Trans-person to chair any City of Atlanta constituted board. The Human Relations Commission is the governing board for Atlanta’s nondiscrimination ordinance. Her position with the commission gave Chanel the authority with facilitating Trans* Humility Training at all the homeless shelters within Atlanta city limits. And is co-author of the S.L.E.E.P. training manual for the City of Atlanta. Chanel is currently on the City Of Atlanta’s HOPWA Advisory Committee and is a certified Out & Equal Workplace Advocate Trainer. As well as the secretary of Georgia’s State Advisory Board to the United States Commission on Civil Rights. 2017-2018 Fulton County Democrat Post Seat Holder At-Large. She is a 2018 Delegate to the State Democrat Convention[i]. In 2017, Chanel Haley became the first Trans-person to be listed in Real Times Media “Who’s Who in Black Atlanta” 17th edition. Chanel is a 2018 graduate of the City of Atlanta Citizens Police Academy conducted by the Atlanta Police Department.

As the Gender Policy Manager for Equality Foundation of Georgia, Chanel leads efforts that ensure nondiscrimination legislation and policies in the broad areas of employment, housing, public accommodations, law enforcement, safe schools, access to health care, education and voter registration access is inclusive of transgender and gender variant individuals and communities. She helps to build relationships with businesses and corporate environments that may have little or no LGBT background and experiences throughout the state of Georgia. And works with Elected Official’s and policymakers locally and statewide. At request, Chanel Haley does speaking engagements all over the state and nation. With appearances at 11 universities on 16 campuses, including Yale University. Chanel facilitates “Trans* 101 “Humility” Trainings by request custom for any type of organization. In 2018 Chanel designed a 1 year Leadership Academy cohort of Transmen and Transwomen. Where they learned: to effectively communicate about the transgender community, acquire confidence in public speaking, coalition building, civic engagement, policy fundamentals, gain a proficient understanding of government and how to communicate with elected officials. At the end of the 1 year class, the 14 participants are now able to apply their newly acquired skills to any career field. A new cohort started in 2019.


To register for this event, please click on the registration button and be sure to join us on Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020 @ 6:00 PM for Color Matters: Law Enforcement Interactions

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