New York State Capitol




2013 E&J Day

Register Today!

Join the largest statewide gathering of our movement at the Empire State Pride Agenda’s annual Equality & Justice Day and show the strength of the LGBT community in our state’s capital.

Come together with members of the LGBT community and our allies from all across New York and:


Secure your spot, or sponsor an advocate today! Stay tuned for updates on rally speakers, workshops and other programming.

Register online using the button below or download an individual registration form or group registration form.

Help Make Equality & Justice Day a Success!

Help send a New Yorker who could not otherwise attend with your donation to our scholarship fund. Our regular registration fee is well below the actual cost of attendance, especially for those activists who need a seat on the bus. Furthermore, we are committed to sending every New Yorker that we possibly can. Your support will go a long way toward making Equality & Justice Day a success, empowering your fellow New Yorkers and furthering the community's legislative priorities. 

"Equality & Justice Day is one of the most important days of the year in our legislative advocacy for the improvement of quality of life for the transgender community as we fight to pass the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA). I appreciate the Pride Agenda and all they do to make sure that anyone who wants to come can get to Albany. Having my voice included is so important to me and the movement."

— Bryan J. Ellicott, Staten Island


Help Spread the Word!


Announcing our Workshops!

The Child-Parent Security Act and Its Implications for the LGBT Community

Anne Reynolds Copps (Capital District)

The workshop will review current law and the provisions of the proposed act. The workshop will include detailed discussion of scenarios which would be promotion by the act with audience participation and discussion.

Anne Reynolds Copps is a 1981 graduate of Albany Law School.  She was admitted to the Bar in 1982.  She was a partner at Martin, Shudt, Wallace, DiLorenzo & Copps until 1995 when she opened her office as a sole practitioner, concentrating on adoptions and real property.  In 2014, she and her daughter formed Copps DiPaola, PLLC. She is a frequent lecturer for the Bar Association on real property, adoption issues and ethics. She is a past-president of the Rensselaer County Bar Association and Capital District Women’s Bar Association. She is currently a Member of the NYSBA Real Property Law Section Executive Committee, serving as chair 2010-2011. She served for six years on the Committee on Professional Standards for the Appellate Division Third Department which reviews disciplinary matters for attorneys.  She is a member of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys. She currently serves as a member of the NYSBA Committee on Professional Ethics. She received the Distinguished Member Award from the Capital District Women’s Bar Association and the Nancy Burton – Straight but Not Narrow Award from the Capital District Gay and Lesbian Community Council.  In January 2003 she received the Attorney Professionalism Award from the New York State Bar Association.  She also received the New York State Bar Association Pro Bono Award for the Third Department in 2003. In 2007, she received the Barry Gold Firm Leadership Award in pro bono from The Legal Project and the Kate Stoneman Award from Albany Law School in 2009. In 2012 she received the Kimberly A. Troisi-Paton Leadership Award from the Capital District Women’s Bar Association.

Creating Safe & Inclusive Spaces for LGBT Older Adults

Tom Weber, Director of Constituent Services at SAGE and Sarah Savino, SAGE Center Program Manager (Manhattan)

This workshop will give some basic information about LGBT older adults, their history & why having their own spaces and services is so important.  It will also introduce attendees to the services and programs delivered by SAGE (Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders) the oldest provider of LGBT older adult services in the country.

Sarah Savino is the Program Manager at The SAGE Center, the nation’s first full-time center for LGBT older adults. Established in 2012 through a New York City Department for the Aging Innovative Senior Center initiative, the center provides a diverse range of services and programming including arts and culture, food and nutrition, fitness, health and wellness, and lifelong education. As Program Manager, Sarah oversees daily operations, supervises center staff, and cultivates partnerships within the community. Prior to joining the SAGE community in January 2012, Sarah worked for the Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center for five years, first as Education and Recreation Coordinator and then as Senior Center Program Director. It was there that she honed her program management and supervisory skills, and learned about the aging services network within New York City.  One of her proudest achievements was developing the Isaacs in Motion Challenge, a biannual program which promotes increased and diversified fitness and wellness program participation through encouraging members to meet weekly goals and health screenings, culminating in a VIP party. Sarah also has experience working for a home care and hospice agency in New Jersey, developing training materials for home health aides, nurses, and rehabilitation therapists. At the same time, she participated in a friendly visiting program where she came to appreciate the need for developing supportive programming for older adults who lack financial or social resources.  Currently, Sarah lives in New York City and spends her free time playing in multiple LGBT sports leagues, doing DIY projects, and scouting out the city’s best faux chicken wings.

As Director of Constituent Services, Tom Weber has oversight responsibility for all of SAGE’s NYC-based programs. This includes The SAGE Center – the nation’s first full-time municipally-funded senior center for LGBT older adults, and its array of nutrition, health & wellness, fitness, arts & culture, education, socialization, and technology programs. It also includes case management and caregiving programs, volunteer programs, outreach programs, SAGE Center satellite programs in Harlem and Brooklyn, and SAGE programs at the LGBT Community Center. Tom also interacts with a range of community partners to produce collaborative programs for LGBT older adults throughout the city. Tom represents SAGE in a variety of venues with other service providers. In his more than nine years on-staff at SAGE, Tom helped launch the SAGEWorks Program, presented at various conferences and organizations, facilitated groups, created and led volunteer trainings and organized Gay Pride activities. Tom represented SAGE at the NYS Health & Human Services Network for several years and co-chaired its Senior Issues Committee. Prior to working at SAGE, Tom was employed in AIDS services for almost 15 years at Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC). During his time at GMHC, Tom led trainings and groups, performed intakes, screened, trained, assessed and managed volunteers, and coordinated and led the Buddy Program - one of the agency’s signature programs pairing home-bound people living with AIDS with trained volunteers, for the purpose of providing companionship and emotional support.

Creating Social Change: Creating an Affirming Foster Care System for LGBT Youth and Parents

Sarah Mikhail, Joseph Davis, and DeEbonie Swindell, New York City LGBT Community Center

The mission of the LGBT Foster Care Project at The Center is to implement policy created to make foster care settings safer for LGBT youth in care. In this work we must highlight the disproportionate number of LGBT youth of color in the foster care system. The workshop will teach LGBT community members about building their families through foster care and will  highlight the Youth Speakers Bureau, a group of youth advocates whose purpose is to use their voice to raise awareness about the experience of LGBT youth in care. Attendees will understand how they can be a part of creating social change through the child welfare system

Joseph Davis is the Peer Youth Advisor for the LGBT Foster Care Project’s Youth Speaker’s Bureau (YSB), a program of the Family Services department at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center.  Joseph’s work with the YSB has been focused on helping to create more LGBT affirming homes for youth, as well as working towards creating greater cultural competencies within the entire New York City foster care system. He has participated in numerous lobbying opportunities in Albany, and been a voice for the community at Community Board and City Council hearings. Joseph is committed to his work with ACS and the Center in making foster care agencies and homes safe for LGBTQ young people in New York City.

Sarah Mikhail, LMSW is the LGBT Foster Care Project Program Coordinator at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center. Sarah is a licensed social worker in New York City and graduated from New York University’s Silver School of Social work with her MSW in 2008.  Since her undergraduate years, Sarah has been pursuing a career in Social Work that connects her to young people. She has dedicated her career to children and adolescents in foster care and has worked in many facets of this system.  Sarah has spent her most recent years in the foster care system, helping to prepare young people that are aging out of foster care. In her current role, Sarah works closely with New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services in implementing policy to make out of home care safe and affirming for LGBTQ youth in New York City.

DeEbonie Swindell has been a part the Foster Care Project at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center for four years. Prior to joining the FCP, DeEbonie was an active member of The LGBT Center's Youth Enrichment Services (YES) Program, where she learned about who she was as a leader, discovered "I" statements, gained and honed facilitation skills and met the mentors that would forever shape and mold her into the person she is today and will grow to be. When her time at YES came to an end, DeEbonie took all that she learned, her passion and willingness to advocate for young people and became a Public Ally of New York for FEGS Education and Youth Division at Bronx Lab School, where she is currently a Youth Advocate and 11th Grade Advisor. Her hopes are to be the bridge between the students/staff and parental figures/children to create safe spaces and understanding.

Empowering YOU Through Political & Social Advocacy

James Shultis and the Center Youth Action Team, Pride Center of the Capital Region (Albany)

This isn’t your regular old workshop! We’re going to get you pumped to make a difference. Featuring inspiring high school leaders who are working on the front lines to create change in their communities. By offering some success stories, sharing challenges, and brainstorming what YOU can do, we hope that you too can take action, and stand up for equality in your school, community, or organization. This is an INTERACTIVE workshop. Get ready to ask questions and participate, we promise you’ll get more out of it if you do. We want to empower you to be that catalyst for change. You’ll also get the chance to learn about discrimination and harassment faced by members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, questioning and allied (LGBTQA) community, and then what unity can look like in the face of adversity.

James Shultis currently works at the Pride Center of the Capital Region, where he is the Youth Program Coordinator. The youth program works throughout 11 counties throughout the Capital Region of New York including over 200 school districts to provide education, support, resources and connection for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, queer, questioning and allied youth (LGBTQA) ages 24 and under. He is also a Community Organizer, LGBTQ Activist, and accomplished poet. James holds a BA in English Literature and Gender Studies from Hunter College (CUNY) and an MFA in Creative Writing from Queens College (CUNY). He lives in Albany with his partner and their two cats, Wayne and Fat Mamma.

The Center Youth Action Team (CYAT), is a component of The Pride Center of the Capital Region’s youth program. The team is designed to encourage youth leadership, contradict myths and stereotypes of the LGBTQ community, give voice to the rich diversity of the LGBTQ community, and provide positive representations of the LGBTQ and allied community. This unique program provides youth with training and speaking opportunities to help make schools safer while developing a sense of confidence and pride in their identities. The Center Youth Action Team conducts trainings and presentations for school teachers, administrators and Gay-Straight Alliances, as well as community groups throughout the year. There are 16 active members on the 2013-2014 team. The Pride Center of the Capital Region is the county’s oldest, continuously running LGBTQ community center located in Albany, NY. The mission of the Pride Center is to promote the well-being of all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer identified people and those affected by discrimination based on gender identity and expression. For complete program listings and to learn more, check out the following: www.capitalpridecenter.org.

Intersection of Criminal Justice Reform and Transgender Issues

New York Civil Liberties Union

This panel will explore the impact of criminal justice reform efforts on the transgender community, using specific examples of NYCLU litigation, advocacy, and public education campaigns to demonstrate how transgender rights are implicated in a wide variety of criminal justice reform issues.

Founded in 1951 as the New York affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, the NYCLU is a not-for-profit, nonpartisan organization with eight chapters and regional offices and nearly 50,000 members across the state. The NYCLU’s mission is to defend and promote the fundamental principles and values embodied in the Bill of Rights, the U.S. Constitution, and the New York Constitution, including the rights of LGBTQ New Yorkers. This panel will be moderated by Corinne Carey, Assistant Legislative Director of the NYCLU, and will also feature Candis Tolliver (Senior Organizer), Mariko Hirose (Staff Attorney), Socheatta Meng (Legislative Counsel), Bobby Hodgson (Legal Fellow), and Erin Beth Harrist (Staff Attorney).

Off the Gender Binary - Being Gender Authentic in the Workplace

Denise Norris (Catskills)

An increasing number of LGBT employees are identifying as off the Gender Binary. ‘He’ and ‘She’ no longer suffice to describe all our LGBT colleagues in the workplace. Gender non-specific pronouns like ’Ze’ and ‘s/he’ are becoming more common in the LGBT community.   Understanding the diversity of gender expression within the LGBT community is paramount to embracing the workforce of tomorrow. To stay relevant to the changing needs of the LGBT community, concepts like Omnisexual and Genderqueer need to become part of our daily conversation.  This workshop will help participants understand Omnisexual and Genderqueer, non-traditional pronouns, recognize Gender Binary Privilege and practice good Gender Expression Etiquette. The workshop will have a presentation and audience participation.

Denise Norris is currently the lead for global transgender workplace inclusion at a global management consulting firm with over 250,000 employees world-wide and she also serves on the Board of Directors for Marriage Equality USA, a national organization advocating an end of discrimination regarding civil marriage for all people regardless of gender or orientation. Her roots in the Transgender community extend back more than 20 years from co-founding The Transexual Menace in 1993 to the creation of the Institute for Transgender Economic Advancement in 2014.  In 2012, she received the Stonewall Sprit of Pride Award from the Stonewall National Museum and Archives for her contributions to the Transgender community. Her vision for the future is that we will no longer be separated by letters like L, G, B and T, but will become one community, united in seeking equality for all genders and all orientations. She claims the mountains of the Catskills as her home along with several horses and a couple of dogs.

TransACTion! – Using Drama & Activism to Raise Awareness about Trans* Youth Issues!

Erin Furey, Pride for Youth (Long Island)

Using drama, social work and Theatre of the Oppressed methods, youth participants buck traditional advocacy methods and create their own message to address topics often overlooked by the adults in Trans* youth lives, and by the LGB community! Crafted by American Idol finalist and Broadway performer turned Social Worker Erin Furey, we explore trans* youth lives & narratives through their own experiences. We’re getting rid of sit-ins and picketing - instead we are making noise & going from life to art to action!

An LMSW at Pride for Youth, Erin Furey uses creative arts to engage in both therapeutic work and program development with LGBTQ youth. For 15 years Erin has supported LGBQ, undocumented, transgender, disabled and/or incarcerated youth. Ten years ago Erin founded Stories of Hope and landed as a finalist on American Idol, using the platform to discuss youth homelessness instead of a hit song. Erin pursued degrees in theatrical performance, women's studies and an MSSW from Columbia University while working in advocacy for youth with autism. She has directed numerous youth productions and currently serves as the Suffolk County Delegate for the National Association of Social Workers. Erin is a Spokesmodel for Levi Strauss Jean Company’s ‘Young Woman Shaping What’s to Come’ campaign and was recently quoted by Cynthia Germanotta of the Born This Way Foundation (and Lady Gaga's mother!) about mental health strategies for LGBTQ youth. Erin will soon be featured on an episode of the Emmy Award winning-Nick News with Linda Ellerbee as an expert on LGBTQ youth.

What's a Parent to Do? Overcoming Obstacles to Advocacy

Terri Cook, proud mother and Pride Agenda Board Member (Syracuse)

Join us as we consider how parents can be effective advocates for trans* rights while still respecting and being protective of their trans* loved ones.  In this interactive workshop, we will discuss the skills and strategies parents can use to be advocates for their children.  Topics to be explored include: why it is important to be an advocate, overcoming obstacles to advocacy, and examples of what parents can do – big and small – in their homes, communities, schools, medical offices, workplaces, and political arenas…just to name a few.  Participants will leave with tools and resources to become better advocates for their children and families.

Terri Cook is a passionate ally and proud mom of a young man who transitioned from female to male at the age of 15.  Author of the book Allies and Angels: A Memoir of our Family’s Transition and co-founder of The Ally Project, Terri is dedicated to creating a world full of allies. Terri speaks and shares her family’s story at conferences, corporations, colleges and community organizations across the country. She co-facilitates a parent support group, TransParent, and volunteers at the Q Center, a safe space for LGBT youth and their allies. Terri also serves on the board of the Empire State Pride Agenda Foundation.

You Can’t Change What We Never Chose: Ending Conversion Therapy Through Legislation

Matthew Shurka, advocate and survivor (New York City), and Alison Gill, Government Affairs Director, Trevor Project (Washington, DC)

Presented by a survivor of so-called conversion therapy, Mathew Shurka, will present to the public about the history and harms of Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE), sometimes known as ‘reparative’ or ‘conversion’ therapy. Mathew will share his personal story and present the historic legislative actions that have been taken nationally and of the bill that has been introduced in New York State to protect LGBT minors.

Alison Gill is the Government Affairs Director at The Trevor Project, the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth, where she coordinates advocacy for LGBTQ youth mental health and safety through policy initiatives at the federal, state, and local level. Prior to joining The Trevor Project, Alison was Public Policy Manager at the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), where she focused on state and local safe schools policy issues. Alison also engages in local trans advocacy in Washington, DC, with Trans Legal Advocates of Washington (TransLAW). Alison is a graduate of Rutgers University, and she received her JD from the George Washington University Law School.

Born and raised in Great Neck, New York, Mathew Shurka was 16 years old when he came out to his father about being gay. He endured seeing several so-called "conversion" therapists from ages 16 to 21. Now the 25-year-old is open and proud, and since coming out in 2012, Mathew has been a strong national advocate for banning these destructive practices on minors. Mathew is studying public affairs at Baruch College and is continuing his studies to pursue his dream of becoming an architect.

Rally Speakers

We're thrilled to announce an exciting roster of speakers joining us on the rally stage for Equality & Justice Day. Now presenting your 2014 Capitol line-up!

Kye Allums

“I Am Enough!” has been Kye Allum’s mantra for quite some time. Kye being ENOUGH was the very catalyst for him to start sharing his story with athletic departments and universities across the U.S. as the first Division I, openly transgender athlete in sports history.  He went on to graduate from The George Washington University with a degree in Fine Arts, but his desire for change didn’t stop there. It was then that his mantra became his movement. Project “I Am Enough” was born and lives have been affected ever since.

The Rev. David Gregory

The Rev. David Gregory is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, currently leading the development of a new faith community called Spirit of Peace UCC in Kingston, New York. He is also completing a position as interim minister at Emmanuel-Friedens Church in Schenectady. He has previously served other congregations in New York, Pennsylvania, and Indiana. His partner, Tripp Hanson, is an acupuncturist in private practice in Manhattan, and they divide their time between the city and their home near Woodstock. David has two grown sons and a grandson, all of whom live in the Finger Lakes region.

Lourdes Hunter

Originally from Detroit, Lourdes Hunter has been involved in community organizing for over 20 years. An academic, practitioner and educator, Lourdes’ leadership has influenced the development and implementation of trans* inclusive culturally competent policy reform and best practices at the New York City Department of Homeless Services, New York City Human Resources Administration and the New York City Police Department. As the Co-Founder of The Trans Women of Color Collective, Lourdes’ leadership is galvanizing a transformative movement of sustainable initiatives that support, empower and uplift trans* women of color to be the writers of their own narratives. Ms. Hunter has a B.A. in Social Theory, Structure and Change with concentrations in Race, Class and Gender Studies from SUNY and is finishing an Executive MPA at Rutgers in May.

Mathew Shurka

Born and raised in Great Neck, New York, Mathew Shurka was 16 years old when he came out to his father about being gay. He endured seeing several so-called "conversion" therapists from ages 16 to 21. Now the 25-year-old is open and proud, and since coming out in 2012, Mathew has been a strong national advocate for banning these destructive practices on minors. Mathew is studying public affairs at Baruch College and is continuing his studies to pursue his dream of becoming an architect.

Moonhawk River Stone

The Reverend Moonhawk River Stone, M.S., LMHC, is an ordained interfaith minister, a psychotherapist, consultant, educator, keynote speaker and writer in private practice in the Schenectady, New York area. He is an out, open and proud transsexual man. In December 2013, Rev. Stone was appointed to a three-year term on the Schenectady County Human Rights Commission, breaking new ground as the first transgender member of a human rights commission in New York State. In his clinical practice for well over two decades, Rev. Stone has specialized in working with the LGBT community (especially with transgender people of all ages and their families), survivors of childhood trauma, people with dissociative disorders, and families where one member has either a traumatic brain injury or dementia. Rev. Stone is the leading voice for the removal of the stigmatizing “Gender Identity Disorder” from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Corbin Streett

Corbin Streett is the Operations Coordinator at the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence. He has worked in the movement to end domestic violence for five years, in both a direct service and statewide advocacy capacity. Prior to that, he worked in the substance abuse treatment field. Corbin grew up in the Mississippi Delta, wandered around the country after college participating in a number of social justice movements, and landed in the Capital Region in 2006. He holds a Bachelors degree in Philosophy and a Masters degree in Social Work. He and his partner, Curran, have been together ten years and experienced the second-parent adoption process from 2010 to 2011 as they prepared for the arrival of their first child, Riley. Corbin publicly came out as trans after Riley’s birth.