Acey is a highly respected activist, known for her expertise and commitment to social justice feminism. Her creative and inclusive vision of movements has been instrumental in setting a standard for a more progressive, diverse and community driven philanthropy and activism.
Acey was named Senior Activist Fellow Emerita at Barnard Center for Research on Women where she was a fellow in 2015 and 2016. Currently, she is the Director of Strategic Collaborations at GRIOT Circle, a people of color LGBTQ elder’s organization based in Brooklyn, N.Y where she was previously the Executive Director. From 1987 – 2010 Acey served as the Executive Director of Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice and holds the title of Executive Director Emerita. Under her stewardship, Astraea established the nation’s first Lesbian Writers Fund and Lesbian Visual Artists Fund, created the International Fund for Sexual Minorities in 1996—the only fund of its kind – and launched the US Movement Building Initiative in 2005 to support the leadership and vision of people of color LGBTQ organizations. In 2017 Astraea established the Social Justice Feminist Award in Acey’s name to honor movement elders. Acey is on the Board, Executive Committee, and the Treasurer for Center for Constitutional Rights. She recently completed tenures on the Boards of Political Research Associates and Open Society’s International Human Rights Initiative.
From 1982 to 1987, Acey served as the Associate Director of the North Star Fund in New York City, overseeing its grants and technical assistance programs, and managing a donor portfolio. She helped create and shape the Women’s Funding Network in the mid 1980s serving on its first Board as Chair. She is a founding member and past Board Chair of the Funders for LGBTQ Issues and has served as a board or advisory member to countless organizations including Women in the Arts, the Center for Anti-Violence Education, New York Women Against Rape, MADRE, Women Make Movies, and the International Network of Women’s Funds (Prospera). Acey is past chair of the National Executive Committee of the Palestine Solidarity Committee and was a core member of the Arab Women’s Gathering Organizing Committee. She has served on the Human Rights Watch LGBT Program Advisory Committee and helped to establish the Global Philanthropy Project: Expanding Resources for LGBTQ People.
Acey has traveled globally speaking on issues of philanthropy, women’s and LGBTQ human rights, race, and class. She has participated in numerous women’s and LGBTQ delegations and convenings in Africa, Asia, North and Latin American, the Middle East and Europe. Katherine Acey holds a BA in Sociology from Daemen College and an MS from Columbia University School of Social Work in Community Organizing and Planning where she served as the president of the student body.
James Earl Hardy is the author of the bestselling novel B-Boy Blues, praised as “the first gay hip hop love story” and prominently featured in Spike Lee’s Get on the Bus. There are seven sequels: 2nd Time Around (a New York Times bestseller), If Only for One Nite (an American Library Association Gay Book of the Year Honoree), Love the One You’re With, A House is Not a Home, “Is It Still Jood to Ya?” (Featured in the collection Visible Lives: Three Stories in Tribute to E. Lynn Harris), and Men of the House (an Amazon Top 15 LGBT bestseller). Both B-Boy Blues and 2nd Time Around made the African American Literary Book Club’s 100 Favorite Titles of the 20th Century List (#88 and #11, respectively). Mr. Hardy’s stage adaptation of B-Boy Blues made its premiere during the 2013 Downtown Urban Theater Festival, winning their Audience Award, and went on to both a sold-out national tour (Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Atlanta, Oakland) and its official Off-Broadway debut @ Playwrights Horizons. The film adaptation of B-Boy Blues (directed by Jussie Smollett) is currently in post-production.
Mr. Hardy’s short story collection, Can You Feel What I’m Saying? was a 2013 Rainbow Book Award nominee. An honors graduate of Columbia University’s School of Journalism, his byline as an award-winning music critic/feature writer has appeared in Entertainment Weekly, Essence, Newsweek, Pop Matters, Soultracks, The Source, Vibe, and The Washington Post. Born and raised in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, in New York, he currently resides in Manhattan.
Alyce Emory (she/her/hers) has years of successful work in event production, marketing and online content creation/production for community organizations, media companies, universities, and non-profits. She is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Beyond Bold and Brave/Black Lesbian Conferences project, a collective that produces and supports programs centering black lesbian work and life. She also works with Michigan State University’s African Atlantic Research Team, a mentoring collective that specializes in providing academic and socialization support to students from cultural communities who historically have been excluded from higher education in the United States.
After serving on Harlem Pride’s Founding Advisory Board in 2010, Alyce began working with NYC Black Pride. During her tenure, she developed and produced such activities as the “Salute to Our Seniors,” the first program for LGBTQ seniors offered by a Black Pride celebration. For this the Deputy Manhattan Borough President appointed Alyce to the Islan Nettles’ Vigil Planning Committee.
Alyce Emory proudly supports her Harlem and NYC community by serving on committees of the Black & Latino LGBTQ Coalition; Griot Circle’s 2018 Benefit Host Team; ZAMI NOBLA’s “Women Sweet on Women” Black Lesbian Film Festival; National LGBTQ Women’s Community Survey and more. She’s also an advisor for African Ancestral Lesbians United for Societal Change (AALUSC) and is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, the Association for the Study of Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD) and Women of Color in Fundraising and Philanthropy. For her work Alyce has received proclamations from the New York City Council, Manhattan Borough President, Brooklyn Borough President, and enthusiastic acknowledgments from Black Youth Project 100, Equality New York, and Omicron Epsilon Pi Sorority, Incorporated and inclusion in PRIDE NYC’s 2020 “Pride Is…” Marketing Campaign. Alyce earned the Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology from Georgia State University and did post-graduate study in Multi-Cultural Marketing from the New School of Social Research in New York City.
Through her professional work and firsthand experiences, Alyce Emory is constantly reminded how black lesbians are consistently marginalized and have few public spaces dedicated to addressing their concerns with authenticity and respect. To help address the issue, in 2014, she co-founded Beyond Bold and Brave’s Black Lesbian Conferences in New York City to be the welcoming, authentic, and respectful space for black lesbians to gather and address their self-defined priorities. This resulted in two, 2016 & 2018, extraordinarily successful public conferences and robust support and partnerships with organizations and individuals. Under Alyce’s leadership, Beyond Bold and Brave is preparing to continue and expand its transformative work that can lead to tangible and equitable solutions for black lesbian life and priorities.
Known as the “Father of Black Gay Cinema”, Patrik-Ian Polk is an award-winning writer-director-producer. A Mississippi native, Polk attended film school at the prestigious University of Southern California before going on to produce over two decades of groundbreaking work exploring the African American gay experience. His credits include Punks, the first Black gay feature film, and Noah’s Arc, the first Black gay TV series. Other film credits include Noah’s Arc: Jumping the Broom, The Skinny and Blackbird. Recent TV credits include a stint as Co-Executive Producer and writer of the Being Mary Jane two-hour series finale, and he is currently Co-Exec Producing and writing the critically acclaimed P-Valley and The Chi. Polk is the winner of two GLAAD Awards and has been nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards & six NAACP Image Awards. He splits his time between Los Angeles and Atlanta.
For her leadership in building a multi-cultural women’s funding movement, the Women’s Funding Network honored her with the “Changing the Face of Philanthropy” award. Other acknowledgements include: the Cross-Cultural Black Women’s Studies Institute for International Women’s Leadership Award, the NYC National Organization for Women Susan B. Anthony Award, the Women & Philanthropy LEAD Award, the FEX Vision Award in Social Justice, the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund Liberty Award, the North Star Fund Social Justice Leader Award, Brooklyn Lambda Award Women e-news 21 Leaders for 21st Century Award, the SAGE Elders Award and the GCN Impact Award. Acey was selected to appear in the 2017 book, ” 200 WOMEN who will change the way you see the world.”
Acey has traveled globally speaking on issues of philanthropy, women’s and LGBTQ human rights, race and class. She has participated in numerous women’s and LGBTQ delegations and convenings in Africa, Asia, North and Latin American, the Middle East and Europe.
Katherine Acey holds a BA in Sociology from Daemen College and an MS from Columbia University School of Social Work in Community Organizing and Planning where she served as the president of the student body.