Who We Are

BreakOUT! Founding Members

YouthBar

(L to R: Lhundyn, Milan, Jonathan, De-De, Amhari, and Kenisha)

BreakOUT! Staff

Kwan Moonlite, Youth Organizer / Building Our Power Institute Organizer

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Bio coming soon!

 

Lhundyn Palmer, Youth Organizer / Building Our Power Institute Organizer

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(She/ Her/ Hers)

Lhundyn is a Founding Member of BreakOUT!, active with the organization in various leadership capacities since 2011. She helped design and was the first graduate of the Building Our Power Institute, a 12-week long youth organizing and leadership development program for LGBTQ youth of color in New Orleans. Lhundyn also performed in the play Say My Name, Say My Name with Ping Chong + Company and has been instrumental in pushing the organization to do more member-led work, to look at housing as a key contributor to the criminalization of LGBTQ youth, and to start a BreakOUT! HiSET (formerly the GED) program now known as the Posh Academy. Lhundyn has represented BreakOUT! at the Unite To Fight Southern Movement Summer Organizing Drive with Project South and helped write the report, We Deserve Better: A report about policing in New Orleans by and for queer and trans youth of color. Lhundyn has participated in direct actions with BreakOUT! and the Congress of Day Laborers, including delivering the We Deserve Better report to the Mayor’s Office. She is currently working on her HiSET at the Posh Academy, organizing the Building Our Power Institute, and helping to coordinate BreakOUT!’s participation in the What’s Your Issue? national research project hosted by the City University of New York Graduate Center’s Public Science Project. Lhundyn is known to her peers as the “voice of the people” and enjoys healing and self-care.

 

Anthoni Johnson, Youth Organizer/ GSA Coordinator

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(They/ Them/ Theirs, He/ Him/ His)

Bio coming soon!

 

Jai’ Shavers, Lead Youth Organizer

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(They/ Them/ Theirs)

Jai’ Shavers is a BreakOUT! member who was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. They moved to New Orleans to pursue both professional and educational goals as an organizer following their graduation from Baton Rouge Magnet High School in 2012. While attending the University of New Orleans, they started a small organization called Hearts for the A.R.T.S., a nonprofit-based club with the mission of bringing arts back into schools throughout the cities of both Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Jai’ served at BreakOUT! as a member of the AmeriCorps’ 2014-2015 Louisiana Delta Service Corp as the Outreach and Development Coordinator before being hired as Lead Youth Organizer at BreakOUT!

Shaena Johnson, Co-Director

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(She/ Her/ Hers)

Shaena Johnson has long been considered “family” to our organization, supporting us however she can since our founding in 2011. Born and raised in Louisiana, Shaena brings over 7 years of organizing and advocacy experience to the position as well as her extensive work in the community focusing on issues facing LGBTQ youth in the juvenile justice system. At the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana and the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights, Shaena investigated conditions of confinement for incarcerated youth and supported defense attorneys with zealous advocacy and investigation for court-involved youth in New Orleans. In 2013, Shaena became a Brown Boi after completing the Brown Boi Leadership Training Cohort. Interviewed by over 14 BreakOUT! youth members during an extensive interview process for a Program Director, Shaena said she most looked forward to bringing her “swag” to the organization. In 2015, Shaena became Co-Director at BreakOUT!

 

Wesley Ware, Co-Director

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(He/ Him/ His)

Wes is the Founding Director of BreakOUT! and a 2011 Soros U.S. Justice Fellowship recipient. He previously served as the LGBTQ Youth Project Director at the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana (JJPL) where he authored the report, Locked Up & Out: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth in Louisiana’s juvenile justice system. Wes also serves on the Advisory Board for the Equity Project, a national initiative to bring fairness and equity to LGBTQ youth in juvenile delinquency courts. At JJPL, he coordinated the investigation for a class-action lawsuit on behalf of youth detained in New Orleans and monitored the conditions of three state-run youth prisons in Louisiana. His essay, “’Rounding Up The Homosexuals’: The Impact of Juvenile Court on Queer and Trans/Gender Non-conforming Youth” is published in the anthology, Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex. A native Southerner, Wes graduated with a degree in Gender Studies and African American Studies from Georgia State University and has organized across a span of social justice issues in Georgia, including organizing family members of incarcerated adults. His heart is in organizing around the intersections of race, class, and gender justice in the South. In 2014, Wes was honored to be named one of the Trans 100!

Member Trainers

Nicky Cao

Arely Westley

What’s Your Issue? Organizer

Nia Faulk

BreakOUT! Advisory Board Members

adv_112541091_1690289274517660_8857203153795716043_nDeon Haywood, Women With a Vision

adv_212c98e6Ursula Price, Office of the New Orleans Independent Police Monitor, Community Organizer

adv_312622361_10207158341653496_4177523335690562280_oXochitl Bervera, Racial Justice Action Center

Volunteers, Interns, Allies, & Supporters

BreakOUT! could not exist without the support of our community, allies, partner organizations, interns, and volunteers. There are far too many to count!