CHICAGOBrave Space Alliance (BSA) has announced the appointment of seven new members of its board of directors who bring valuable expertise and diverse perspectives to the organization's leadership.
Brave Space Alliance also has formally recognized the BSA union, and signed the first collective bargaining agreement for its staff in BSA's history. The agreement, which continues through 2025, provides annual wage increases, generous benefits, and other important terms to sustain equitable working conditions and provide a stronger voice for BSA workers.
Brave Space Alliance, the first Black-led, trans-led LGBTQ+ center located on the South Side of Chicago, is committed to providing support, resources, and advocacy for the LGBTQ+ community. BSA has a food and clothing pantry at its Hyde Park office, among other services focused on the dignity of their clients. With the addition of these new board members, the center is poised to enhance its impact further and expand its reach.
"I am thrilled to have this dedicated board of directors at my side as we continue to rebuild BSA," said CEO Channyn Lynne Parker. "These are individuals with deep lived experiences and advocacy in the LGBTQ+ community, and we are so fortunate to have them."
Joining the board are Brian Thompson, Crispin Torres, Maliyah Arnold, Myles Brady Davis, Dr. Paviella "Dr. P" Foster, Katie Metos, and Josie Paul. Each new director brings a unique set of skills and experiences that will contribute to the center's mission.
The new board members join a dedicated team of directors who are passionate about advancing LGBTQ+ rights, promoting education and awareness, and fostering a supportive environment: Kim L. Hunt and Tracy Baim (interim co-chairs), Lilly Wachowski (treasurer), and BSA cofounder Michele Zacarias (secretary).
"We were excited to have these new board members join us for our first board retreat last month," said interim co-chairs Hunt and Baim. "BSA is looking forward to a future focused on dignity for LGBTQ+ people on the South Side."
To donate to BSA, see bravespacealliance.org/get-involved/donate/ .
Maliyah Arnold (she/her) - Maliyah is an openly transgender activist, model, and actress. She was born and raised in Hazel Crest, IL., a suburb on the southside of Chicago. She attended high school locally and went on to attend DePaul University, where she graduated with a bachelor's degree in Economics. Maliyah serves on the board of directors for Howard Brown Healthcare, a federally qualified healthcare center focused on providing affirming care to the LGBTQ community. Additionally, Maliyah serves on the LGBTQ advisory council for the City of Chicago where she helps to platform and raise awareness around issues that impact the LGBTQ community to city government leadership.
Tracy Baim (she/her), interim co-chair. Baim is the co-founder and owner of Windy City Times. Baim received the 2013 Chicago Headline Club Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2014, she was inducted into the NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists Hall of Fame. The Chicago Journalists Association gave her a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2022.
Myles Brady Davis (they/them/he/him) is a nationally recognized LGBTQ+ leader who works tirelessly to illuminate issues of race, gender, ethnicity, and equality. As a native Chicagoan raised in Hyde Park, they grew up in a loving family that emphasized strong values and tenets of faith, inclusivity, and social justice.
Dr. Paviella Foster (Dr. P) (she/her) is a native of Chicago's South Side. Dr. Foster began her post-secondary matriculation at Western Illinois University earning a B.A. in Law Enforcement and Justice Administration. Foster's work experience directly parallels to her dissertation title, "An Examination of Community Members' Reactions to Violent Viral Media and their Perceptions of its Impact on Black Communities."
Kim L. Hunt (she/her), interim co-chair. Hunt has had a career focused on leadership, organization and community development for nearly 30 years. She is the Executive Director of the Pride Action Tank, a project incubator and think tank that focuses on LGBTQ+ issues that is a project of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, where she also serves as the Vice President of Special Projects and Innovation in the Policy & Advocacy department.
Katie Metos (they/she), a graduate of DePaul University, serves as the Vice President of External Relations at Howard Brown. Katie oversees marketing, communications, strategic partnerships, development, and the agency's capital campaign. Katie believes passionately in the mission and vision of Howard Brown and understands personally how a gender- and identity-affirming system of care can be transformative for individuals most often at the margins.
Josie Lynne Paul (she/her) serves as the Chief Administrative Officer at Chicago House and Social Service Agency, providing oversight in the domains of Office Administration, Property Management, Grant Administration, Finance, and IT since October 2020. Josie has been instrumental in implementing financial controls and accountable budget practices and she oversees the transition to more modern IT applications in day-to-day operations.
Brian Thompson (he/him) is the founder of Brian Thompson Financial LLC. As both a tax attorney and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, Brian provides comprehensive financial planning to LGBTQ entrepreneurs who run mission-driven businesses. He helps his clients create and run businesses that are both impactful and profitable.
Crispin Torres (he/him/his) is an educator, musician, performer, community organizer, and life-long advocate for social change. Crispin's art and advocacy work is rooted in the values of punk music, queer liberation, and compassion. As an LGBTQ+ activist and musician, he believes complexity and conflict are natural, and when thoughtfully addressed they lead to growth. In 2013 he created the queer, female, and BIPOC-focused punk showcase and later sister festival, QueerAMP. From 2012 through 2017, Crispin worked with Lambda Legal, then he was Policy and Legislative Advocate at Howard Brown Health and then became Manager of Policy and Advocacy.
Lilly Wachowski (she/her), BSA board treasurer, is a trans woman and lifelong Chicago resident. She is a college dropout and has worked as a Building Maintenance Technician's Assistant, self-employed Carpenter, and Writer/Producer/Director for Warner Bros, Netflix, and Showtime among others. She also paints; sometimes she paints ducks.
Michelle Zacarias (she/her), board secretary and BSA cofounder, is an award-winning journalist, storyteller, and native Chicagoan currently residing in Southern California. Michelle is passionate about covering LGBTQIA+ issues, abolitionist movements, and marginalized communities. She has previously written for Teen Vogue, The Triibe, CALO News, People's World, and more. In 2018, Michelle was awarded the Saul Miller Excellence in Journalism Award for her contributions to the field.
About Brave Space Alliance
Brave Space Alliance is the first Black-led, trans-led LGBTQ+ Center located on the South Side of Chicago, dedicated to creating and providing affirming, culturally competent, for-us by-us resources, programming, and services for LGBTQ+ individuals on the South and West sides of the city. We strive to empower, embolden, and educate each other through mutual aid, knowledge-sharing, and the creation of community-sourced resources as we build toward the liberation of all oppressed peoples.
See bravespacealliance.org .