The Freedom Center for Social Justice seeks to eliminate barriers to justice by providing direct legal services, education and resources to the LGBT community.

Every day, the combined efforts of our small staff and dedicated volunteers have a positive impact people’s lives and create a long-term ripple effect that extends far beyond the immediate beneficiaries. If you would like to volunteer as a pro bono attorney, assist with general programming, join the advisory committee or become a sponsor, please contact us at

Our Leaders

Tonyia M. Rawls
Tonyia M. RawlsFounder/Executive Director

Norena Gutierrez
Norena GutierrezProgram Manager

Alele “AJ” Williams
Alele “AJ” WilliamsOrganizer

Our Board

Angel CollieMember
Angel is a trans* masculine person from Bunn, NC. He leads Metropolitan Community Churches’ Transgender Ministries, serves on the LGBT-Religious Archives network Advisory Committee, and has worked with The Human Rights Campaign through facilitating their Gender Identity and Faith Communities curriculum. Angel was on the 2006 and 2007 Soulforce Equality Rides and recently graduated with a Religious Studies major and double minor in Sexuality and Women’s Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 2014 he received his MDiv from Yale Divinity School where and works with The Metropolitan Community Churches overseeing their global trans* initiatives. He is a tireless advocate for transgender, gender-non-conforming, and gender variant people in communities of faith. At heart, Angel describes himself as “a shy, inked-up dork who likes exploring the intersections of faith and gender.
Paige DulaMember
Paige is a 43 year-old professional woman who “happens to have been assigned male at birth”. She likes to do outreach and education on transgender issues. Paige is also active with the LGBT Pride Employee Network at Bank of America where has been employed since 2011 as a Contract Programmer Analyst (Tek Systems). She is currently the highest ranking “out” trans* person at their headquarters location. She is a former board member of Time Out Youth. She is the founder of Genderlines, a transgender support group located in Charlotte, and is a noted speaker and educator on diversity and inclusion.
Lisa Griffin, Ph.D.Chair
Lisa is a licensed clinical psychologist in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the State of North Carolina. She received her B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin with Highest Honors and Special Honors in Psychology; she is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She obtained her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Denver. She was an intern at Baylor College of Medicine and a postdoctoral fellow at Texas Children’s Hospital. With over 20 years of clinical experience, Dr. Griffin specializes in gender identity issues. She works primarily with gender-variant and transgender children, adolescents, and adults and their families, and also provides therapy groups for people in transition. In addition to WPATH, she is a member of the American Psychological Association and of the Virginia Psychological Association. She is a founder of the Charlotte Transgender Healthcare Group, president of the board of directors of the Freedom Center for Social Justice, a past advisor for the University of North Carolina Center for Professional and Applied Ethics, a past supervising psychologist for United Family Services of Charlotte, a past president of the board of directors of Time Out Youth, and a past board member of Planned Parenthood Health Systems.
Kori D. HiggsMember
Kori is a diligent and tenacious engineering doctoral student with water quality research experience. She thrives in challenging situations requiring self-direction, creative problem solving, effective communication, and attention to detail. From the time we met her, as an evacuee after hurricane Katrina interrupted her studies, Kori has served her community as an activist, the world as a conservationist and LGBT people as an example of what is possible when we support our young people. She is one of our newest board members and is an adaptable team player recognized for leadership and integrity. In her own words, “I am committed to utilizing my skills in service of marginalized communities with the greatest need and limited resources.
Beverly “Mecca” Moss, LPCSecretary
Beverly was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, and relocated to the south in 2001. She provides education and support thereby empowering individuals to be all that they can be in hopes of making a lasting change throughout the local community and the world. Moss graduated from the City University of New York’s College of Staten Island with a degree in Social Work and received her Master’s in Counseling from Webster University. She works with youth and adults through her private practice in Charlotte. She is a part of the Transgender Health Care Group, which specializes in working with Transgender individuals in North Carolina. In addition to her position as Board Secretary with the Freedom Center for Social Justice, Moss volunteers with various community groups including the Advisory Board for the Criminal Justice System, Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools and Time Out Youth.
Anita StatonMember
Anita is a results-driven, financial professional with experience in business start-ups and turn around initiatives in challenging and highly competitive markets. Her skills include relationship building, administrative planning, executing, budgeting, compliance, residential mortgage lending, credit analysis and consumer finance. Research, critical thinking, problem solving and analytical skills are her strengths as well as a commitment to improving the quality of life for others. She is committed to a life of professional excellence and community service having served on several boards and as a volunteer for youth groups, faith communities and professional groups.
Duncan TeagueMember
Duncan has kept journals, notes, photographs, programs, poetry and other writings in boxes stored in his garage, snapshots of his life growing up as a black gay activist. “I was going to go back and read them,” he said about keeping the boxes of papers. But he knew the documents, whether notes from a gay activist group he belonged to or a program from ADODI Muse: A Gay Negro Ensemble, a poetry collective he helped found, were important to recording the experiences of black gay people. He also kept the poetry, journals and other writings of noted black gay poet Tony Daniels, who died in 1998. “I knew they were important and as I traveled in gay activism and AIDS activism, I knew one thing was not happening, and that was the accounts of black gay life,” he said. In 2009, Teague donated his collection to the Auburn Avenue Research Library. It includes records of his years from a teen to his activism in Atlanta and nationally in the 1980s and 1990s. The collection also includes Daniels’ works, encompassing personal journals, as well as the records of ADODI Muse. He currently serves as the ED for Equality Georgia and has continued to write his story and fight for the rights of those most marginalized.

Our Supporters