PFLAG Queens Chapter 2017
Awardees Bio's

25th Annual Morty Manford Awardees

photo of MMA Winner Caribbean Equality Project

The Caribbean Equality Project (CEP) is a Queens NY-based 501(c)3 non-profit organization committed to strengthening the marginalized voices of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people of Caribbean origin and descent. To date, CEP is the only educational-based agency serving the Caribbean-American LGBTQ community in New York City and is dedicated to cultivating a supportive and progressive Caribbean community free of violence, oppression, and discrimination. They work to achieve this goal through advocacy, community organizing, public education, cultural, and social programming. Our advocacy efforts are directed towards fostering community partnerships and greater family acceptance. Additionally, they act as a liaison to government agencies and elected officials with the collective vision of a society based on respect, inclusion, and equality, regardless of an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity within the Caribbean diaspora.

The birth of the CEP brought hope, fearless leadership, and advocacy for inclusion, respect, and equality for the Caribbean LGBT community in New York City. The organization was founded by Mohamed Q. Amin, a pioneering Indo-Caribbean Muslim Gay Rights activist native of Guyana, in response to anti-LGBTQ hate violence in Richmond Hill, Queens.

Since the launch of CEP in 2015, the organization has made significant strides toward the advancement and uplifting of LGBTQ Caribbean voices in NYC. As an immigrant-led, social justice and human rights organization, CEP’s work is inclusive of Afro- and Indo-Caribbeans cultural backgrounds and ancestry. They believe inclusiveness will help amplify our movement to educate, inspire, empower and create greater visibility for the LGBTQ Caribbean community in the diaspora.

Year round, the CEP provides an authentic safe space for shared experiences, fostering new relationships by uniting multi-generational support with an array of pioneering programs and services. These programs promote acceptance, reduce stigma and eliminate all forms of discrimination in the LGBTQ Caribbean diaspora.

Their mission statement states that:
The Caribbean Equality Project’s mission is to promote social change, awareness, and acceptance by empowering and strengthening the voices of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people of Caribbean descent in the New York area. We are dedicated to creating a sustainable and progressive community free of violence and all forms of discrimination and oppression by promoting visibility and empowerment through advocacy, immigration, civic engagement, health outreach, community organizing, public education, and cultural and social programming. Our advocacy efforts are directed towards cultivating community partnerships, greater family acceptance and creating a society based on respect, inclusion, and equality, regardless of an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity within the Caribbean diaspora.

To learn more about the Caribbean Equality Project and for regular updates on their work, visit or connect with them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

20th Annual Carmel Tavadia Memorial Awardees

photo of CTMA Winner Abby Maisonave

Abby Maisonave first became involved with PFLAG in 2004 when she sought out support after learning that one of her children was gay. Through PFLAG, she has become an LGBTQ activist; public speaker on LGBTQ issues; educates medical and teaching personnel regarding the LGBTQ patient and student; speaks to H.S. and college students; and facilitates monthly support meetings and a hotline for those in crisis or seeking info about support, advocacy, or education of the LGBTQ person. She has presented dozens of workshops regarding LGBT issues, particularly those facing parents and individuals struggling to come out.

From 2010- September, 2017, Abby was President of PFLAG Jersey Shore, a very large and community/state active chapter, and from 2013 through September, 2017, Abby was the North Atlantic Regional Director for PFLAG National, overseeing the PFLAG chapters in NJ, NY, and PA, helping with issues and concerns that face chapters, as well as guiding and start-up of new PFLAG chapters in her region. She has helped hundreds of families and individuals on their journey to acceptance and unconditional love and support and has been honored that families have entrusted their confidence in her.

Outside of PFLAG, Abby is the mom of three phenomenal children, ages 28, 25, and 23. She has worked in the medical field for 34 years. Her degree is in Health Science, and worked first as a research assistant in surgical oncology, primarily melanoma, and presently in Pathology and as a Patient Advocate in NJ. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, concerts, and traveling/cruising. Her mission: Keeping Families Together and Moving Equality Forward!

13th Annual Brenda Howard Memorial Awardee

photo of .... Denarii Grace

New York–based social justice warrior Denarii (rhymes with “canary”) Grace is a freelance writer/editor, blues singer-songwriter, poet, aspiring screenwriter, and a long time activist. She holds a B.A. from Rutgers University and is a two-year Pace University Master’s program dropout; she studied English and Adolescent Education, respectively. Much of her decade-long activist work has been rooted in student activism, with a focus on intersectional LGBTQIA2S+ (plus) issues; she has also helped organize in and outside of school around anti-war, women’s, and other movements.

Today, Denarii's activism mostly focuses on bi+ (plus) identity, disability, Blackness, and fat acceptance; she also talks often about gender, class, and colorism and their intersections and connections to media, pop culture, and representation. Her activism is mostly through her writing, music, and poetry (and hopefully, one day, film), but she also has abundant experience moderating and participating in panels and webinars and facilitating workshops.

Denarii is a board member of and the blog editor for the Boston-based non-profit Bisexual Resource Center; she’s also a nonfiction editor at The Deaf Poets Society, an online journal featuring literature and art by D/deaf and disabled people. As a freelance writer, she has written for Bitch Magazine, Black Girl Dangerous, Everyday Feminism, and The Establishment, among several others.

You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. She has a dog named Dog and a cat named Cat and you will love them, she promises.

Other Information

We also have an ad journal and YOUR AD DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
For more information regarding our celebration ad journal, see our ad journal webpage at

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Last updated 1/6/16 by LDN