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PFLAG National Members Elect the 2023 Board of Directors

October 27, 2022

Sarah EchoHawk, CEO of Advancing Indigenous People in STEM, is the first of the Pawnee Nation to join the leadership of PFLAG

WASHINGTON—Marking the beginning of its 50th anniversary year, the membership of PFLAG National has elected the first Indigenous person to serve on its board of directors. Sarah EchoHawk, a member of the Pawnee Nation of Oka., is CEO of AISES, an organization dedicated to advancing Indigenous People in STEM. She joins PFLAG National Regional Directors Kathy Halbrooks of Tenn. and Ann Miller of Ga. in serving their inaugural term on the 21-member PFLAG National Board of Directors. 

“For 50 years, PFLAG has worked to ensure that all people who are LGBTQ+ can be affirmed and celebrated, no matter their race or gender, their religion or none, Native or newcomer. As we begin this seminal year of celebration, the individuals guiding PFLAG’s future truly represent the diversity of LGBTQ+ people and families in this country,” said Susan Thronson, President of the PFLAG National Board of Directors, the first parent of a transgender child to serve in this role. 

In addition to EchoHawk, Halbrooks and Miller, board members Kelly Brooks-Hailey, Antón Castellanos-Usigli, Aruna Rao, Erin Roberts and Marilyn Willis have all been reelected by PFLAG’s membership, confirming PFLAG’s longstanding commitment to inclusion across the organization. With this election, 66-percent of the PFLAG National Board of Directors is Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and LGBTQ+.

PFLAG National’s commitment to inclusion has extended beyond its board of directors, impacting strategic investment in inclusive programs, partnerships and financial management. These investments include programs like PFLAG Connects: Communities, safe, virtual meeting spaces for people of similar backgrounds to find support and learn without judgment; partnerships with BIPOC-led and centered organizations; and intentional investments in Minority Depository Institutions.

The election of the Board of Directors follows the announcement of the organization’s officers, President Susan Thronson, Vice-President Dr. Edith Guffey, MSW, Vice President and Chair of the Regional Directors Council Liz DeJesus, Treasurer Chad Libertus, and Secretary Antón Castellanos-Usigli, MPH.

Biographies of New Board Members:

Portrait of Sarah EchoHawk, a smiling person with very long, dark brown hair, silver hoop earrings, wearing a blue shirt. Behind the person are pink petunias and lavender.Sarah EchoHawk, who uses she and her pronouns, is a citizen of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma and has been working on behalf of Native people for over 20 years. She has been the Chief Executive Officer at AISES, an organization dedicated to advancing Indigenous People in STEM, since 2013, before which she had been the Executive Vice President at First Nations Development Institute. Sarah has also worked for the American Indian College Fund, and as an adjunct professor of Native American Studies at Metro State University of Denver.

In addition to the PFLAG National Board of Directors, Sarah has served on several boards and committees including the American Indian Policy Institute, Last Mile Education Fund, National Girls Collaborative, Native Americans in Philanthropy, Native Ways Federation, Red Feather Development Group, and Women of Color in Computing Research. She is also a member of the ad hoc committee at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine for a project addressing the underrepresentation of women of color in tech and serves as PI/Co-PI on multiple National Science Foundation (NSF) grant funded projects. Previously, she served as an Ambassador for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Minorities in Energy Initiative. Sarah has a Master of Nonprofit Management from Regis University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Native American Studies form Metro State University of Denver.

 

Portrait of Kathy Halbrooks, a smiling person with shoulder-length light blonde hair, wearing glasses, a necklace with a sun and moon pendant, and a yellow cardigan sweater over a floral print top.Kathy Halbrooks, who uses the pronouns she and her, is South Atlantic Regional Director, serving Ky., N.C., S.C., and Tenn. Although she is straight, cisgender, and has no children, Kathy has been involved as an ally to the LGBTQ+ community for twenty years. She got involved because of a local political issue, and working for equality became her passion. After serving as President of her home chapter, PFLAG Nashville, for many years, Kathy is now the chapter’s Community Liaison. As a Regional Director and a PFLAG National Board member, Kathy is pleased to be able to connect with people in her region and all over the country to expand the scope of her work. She strives to see that supportive legislators are elected and that fair laws are passed at all government levels. She enjoys taking part in PFLAG meetings, having tables at events, and participating in training in businesses and organizations. Kathy cherishes the many friends she’s made over the years. Getting involved as an ally has brought her many blessings for which she is grateful every day.

 

Portrait of Ann Miller, a smiling person with long blonde hair wearing a black and white patterned top and in front of a hanging basket of red, white and pink impatiens.Ann Miller, who uses the pronouns she and her, serves as the Gulf Regional Director of PFLAG, serving Ala., Fla., Ga., Miss., the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. As Regional Director Ann serves as the PFLAG representative on equality coalitions in each of her states and territories. She first became involved with PFLAG when she attended a local chapter for support after her then 17-year-old child came out as transgender. There she found education and resources to better help her child in navigating social and medical transition. Taking the motto, “when you no longer need PFLAG, PFLAG needs you” to heart, Ann then became a support group facilitator and later formed the chapter’s first real board of directors acting as board president for six years. As Regional Director, Ann is passionate about expanding the chapter network, increasing chapter efficiency, and advocating for the rights of all LGBTQIA individuals but mostly transgender youth. Ann lives outside of Atlanta, Ga., with her husband of 37 years, and is the mother of two grown sons and the grandma to one. As a small business owner, Ann brings a unique perspective to her advocacy work. She and her son are in demand as speakers and they share openly about LGBTQIA issues including mental health, transition care, youth resiliency, and addiction recovery from both the parent and young adult perspective.  

 

The biographies of reelected board members Kelly Brooks-Hailey, Antón Castellanos-Usigli, Aruna Rao, Erin Roberts and Marilyn Willis, Ed.D., and all of PFLAG National’s board members can be found at PFLAG.org/About/Our-People.

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About PFLAG

PFLAG is an organization of LGBTQ+ people, parents, families, and allies who work together to create an equitable and inclusive world. We are hundreds of thousands of people and hundreds of chapters from coast to coast who are leading with love to support families, educate allies, and advocate for just, equitable, and inclusive legislation and policies. Since our founding in 1973, PFLAG works every day to ensure LGBTQ+ people everywhere are safe, celebrated, empowered and loved. Learn more, find support, donate, and take action at PFLAG.org.

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