Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick Honors LGBTQ+ Heroes

June 06, 2021

Nominees

Christina Picciano

Christina Picciano is the founder of The Ossining LGBTQ Alliance, a volunteer organization that promotes a safe and welcoming environment for the local LGBTQ + community through outreach, events and advocacy. Christina has volunteered her time, working together with The Village of Ossining, local businesses, and grassroots organizations to promote LGBTQ+ inclusivity within Ossining. 

Working alongside The Village of Ossining, Christina worked to promote the village's gender-neutral bathroom signage policy, the first of its kind for a municipality in New York State. Since 2019, she has also established an annual pride flag raising in downtown Ossining in honor of pride month. More recently, Christina worked with Ossining's Police Reform and Reinvention Working Committee, to review and update policies to protect the local LGBTQ+ community. 

Kiara Taylor

Kiara Taylor is an Activist, Latina born in Caguas, Puerto Rico.  She represents KIARA TAYLOR TRANS NEW YORK LGBTQ+ , which is Focused on the LGBTQ + outreach which includes the Trans Community, NC/NB rights, inclusion, equality, community member protection laws, and safety.  Kiara is a member of the Ossining LGBTQ+ Alliance founded by fellow nominee Christina Picciano. An amazing volunteer organization that promotes a safe and welcoming environment for our community. She is also a board member of LEGAL SERVICES OF HUDSON VALLEY, representing the Latin community.  

Kiara Taylor has worked as a volunteer for THE LOFT LGBT COMMUNITY CENTER as a Group Facilitator and PEER NAVIGATOR for the amazing PROUWEST ME program which provides different community resources for the Trans Community including the NC/NB. 

Kiara has graduated from THE COLLEGE OF WESTCHESTER with an Associate degree in Management and Marketing in1997, and PUTNAM BOCES with a Diploma of Practical Nursing in 2006.  She continues to study for her BA degree in Public Health.  

Her SUPERPOWERS are "LOVE and EMPOWERMENT"

Jerlyne Calixte

Jerlyne is a community organizer and healer who grew up in Rockland County. As a Black Queer Femme, she lives and works at the intersections of immigration, the Black diaspora, and LGBTQ+ liberation. Her healing work manifests in Honey & Rice, where she offers spiritual consultations, herbalism, and facilitates healing spaces in a Queer Haitian tradition. Jae also volunteers at Blackline, a crisis line that supports people through incidents of racial violence and systemic oppression.

Her work at Rockland Pride includes being a member of the BIPOC Advisory Council, facilitating the Black and Latin Families Advocacy Group, and, in 2019, creating an inter-generational Winter Solstice celebration that centered on the healing needs of BIPOC LGBTQ+ people.

Jae's liberatory practice shines brightest in one-on-one connections, stabilizing moments of crisis, and enhancing each person's unique dignity.

Jamey Petersen

Jamey has been involved in social justice work in Rockland County for many years at both the NAACP and Rockland Pride Center. Jamey was one of the original participants of Rockland Pride’s LGBTQ+ Youth Program. As a member of the Youth Advisory Council, he helped shape the program for future generations.

Jamey is passionate about being a role model and standing up for other young people. As someone who overcame bullying to speak his truth, he knows how to fight for himself or others if need be.

Jamey is graduating high school in June and is preparing to attend RCC in the fall where he plans to study art or psychology.

Marlene Colburn  

Marlene L. Colburn migrated to Nyack from Park Slope in 1998 with her partner, Lise and their oldest son, Miles. Born and raised in NYC, Marlene became involved in many political causes including the Vietnam Moratorium and the first Earth Day. At the Pride Rally in 1992, Marlene became a part of the Lesbian Avengers. After finding that there was no lesbian specific political actions planned for the LGBT March on Washington, The Avengers and a few other groups around the country came together to plan a march for, about and by lesbians.

Over many conference calls, emails and face-to-face meetings, the word went out that something big, specifically for women, was coming to D.C.  When the Avengers arrived in Washington, we handed out thousands of palm cards that said “meet at DuPont Circle” @ 5 PM on Saturday, April 24, 1993.  The Dyke March was born.  20,000 dykes marched from DuPont Circle to the Clinton White House and the Lesbian Avengers ate fire in the front of the White House.

And for 27 straight years, they have marched through the streets of Manhattan.  

Donna Scheibe

Donna Scheibe is a college mathematics and astronomy professor who has been part of the Rockland community since 2013. Always the first to volunteer, she provides free tutoring to young people as part of Rockland Pride’s LGBTQ+ Youth Program and is a member of the Transgender & Non-Binary Advisory Council. Donna organizes LGBTQ+ students and staff at the colleges where she works in New York and northern New Jersey. Donna is a role model to students at Bergen Community College where she has been out since 2015. Donna is also an active member of the College’s Pride Club, and ran a workshop on creating community spaces for students at the 2018 New Jersey Trans Youth Forum at Rutgers University.

Richard Skipper

Richard Skipper: 2021 marks Richard Skipper's 42nd year in New York. He is an entertainer, MC, HOST, Interviewer. His show Streams on Most platforms. Under the guise of Richard Skipper Celebrates, he has conducted over 1000 interviews celebrating people in the arts. This past year, he launched his podcast/Live stream interviewing people from all sides of the arts and literary worlds. He is featured in the January/February 2021 issue of Cabaret Scenes, was nominated for a Broadway World Award for his ongoing online series, and was selected one of the heroes of the theatre by Encores Magazine.

Richard is the creator of Richard Skipper Celebrates! A tour-de-force Cabaret show with top names in musical entertainment meeting to talk and perform, with songs, stories and recollections of lifetimes and moments in show business.  Richard also hosts a bi monthly show with therapist Dr. Judi Bloom called Creativity In The Age of Covid. 

Richard continues to raise money for many worthwhile causes, especially Arts in Education, The Actors Fund, GLAAD, and The Broadway Mentors Program.

Oscar Flores

Oscar Flores was born in Puebla, Mexico in 1987 he is one out of 10 siblings.  Growing up in a traditional catholic Mexican family, Oscar experienced bullying as a child and could not be his authentic self out of fear that his family would not accept him.  When he was 18, Oscar came to America to start a new life.  That was the moment he felt like he could be who he really was inside, and for the first time, felt what it was like to really be happy. 

When he was 20 He met the love of his life, his now husband Richard.  Oscar wanted to share his happiness with everyone and courageously told his mother who he really was, a Gay man who fell in love with another man. When he told her she said to him “You are my son I love you so much and I want you to be happy, always respect people so they can respect you but most important respect yourself you are beautiful and I love you.”  Tears flowed between the two of them and she told him that she was sad because He had not told her before, at that moment she knew why his life had been so hard. 

Ever since He came out his family has been very accepting and supportive to him and his partner for 14 years. Rich is their favorite. He would have not felt as comfortable if it wasn’t for the support of my beautiful husband and the support of our LGBTQ+ Center and the community of Nyack his home for over 10 years. 

Mark Jacobs

Mark is the father of Aston and Preston.  He is currently retired from K&M Newspaper services, Inc., where he served as President for 35 years. Mark currently sits on numerous community boards including:  Rockland PRIDE Center as it treasurer; the Vice-chair of Montefiore Nyack Hospital and Chair of the Montefiore Nyack Hospital Foundation; Member at large for Saint Dominic’s Family Services; co- treasurer for the Center for Safety and Change; Vice chair/ Treasurer for The Wartburg Foundation; Board Member for the YMCA of Middletown; and Chair of the Rockland County Club foundation.  When he is not serving his community, Mark can be found playing his favorite pastime, golf.