The Freedom Center for Social Justice seeks to eliminate barriers to justice and equality through direct and collaborative efforts

Every day, the combined efforts of our small staff and dedicated volunteers have a positive impact on people’s lives and create a long-term ripple effect that extends far beyond the immediate beneficiaries. You can make a difference, too. To volunteer and assist with general programming, office support and events, or to become a sponsor, please contact us.

Our Leaders

Tonyia M. Rawls
Founder/Co-Director

Bishop Tonyia M. Rawls is a national faith leader and social justice activist who has focused the majority of her work in the Southeastern United States fighting oppression and discrimination. She is the Founder and Co-Director of The Freedom Center for Social Justice (FCSJ). Founded in 2009, they work intersectionally through their programs that support the trans community, people of color, people of low wealth, youth and sexual minorities. She and her team have helped build bridges between groups like the NC NAACP, local unions, millennials, radical activists, LGBTQ organizations and communities of faith.  

Bishop Rawls is the architect of the FCSJ Do No Harm Campaign, which provides safe space for faith leaders to discuss challenging justice issues like marriage, equal protection for LGBTQ citizens and other current issues impacting communities of faith. Bishop Rawls is cofounder of the Charlotte Clergy Coalition for Justice and the National Trans Religious Cohort which provides training and support to trans and gender-variant seminary and religious studies students. The organizations’ Transgender Faith and Action Network (TFAAN) provides critical information that ranges from healthcare and employment opportunities to research and community support for those often left isolated.  

In 2000, Bishop Rawls founded Unity Fellowship Church Charlotte and in April 2008, was consecrated as one of the first women Bishops in the Los Angeles-based Unity Fellowship Church Movement’s history. In 2014 she founded Sacred Souls Community Church, a diverse congregation of progressive Christians in Charlotte that have joined the United Church of Christ. Bishop Rawls has also been a reviewer for the Journal of African-American Studies and is published in Black Sexualities: Probing Powers, Passions, Practices, and Policies (released 2010), Sojourners, SAGE and other printed and electronic publications. She has been a guest speaker at Duke University School of Divinity, Union Theological Seminary, Union Presbyterian Seminary, Rochester Colgate Crozer Divinity School, and various other colleges and universities in the South. Bishop Rawls is a graduate of Duke University and is continuing her post-graduate work at Episcopal Divinity School in Boston, MA. She sat on the Governing Board of the North Carolina Council of Churches for two terms and currently serves on the board of the Family Equality Council and works closely with other local and national leaders and organizations to create a more just world.

Mykal Slack
Co-Director

Rev. Mykal Slack joined The Freedom Center as our first Co-Director in September 2016. Mykal began his professional life as a lawyer, serving as the first Gary Crawford Law Fellow at the LGBT Rights & HIV/AIDS Rights Projects at the national offices of the American Civil Liberties Union and then as a law clerk and courtroom deputy for the Honorable Marilyn D. Go in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. He later served as an investigator of discrimination complaints in employment, public accommodations and education for the Lancaster County Human Relations Commission in Lancaster, PA. In that role, he conducted fact-finding and mediation conferences, facilitated diversity and sexual harassment trainings for employers and individuals alike, and developed relationships with community leaders to help build a more culturally competent Lancaster County.

Having discerned a call to ordained ministry, Mykal left law practice to attend Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. He has served in various ministerial posts in the Metropolitan Community Churches and the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations. Most recently, Mykal served as Director of Congregational Life for the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh, NC. He is also the founder and lead organizer of 4LYFE, an associated ministry of Metropolitan Community Churches, which provides pastoral and educational resources to address sexuality and gender identity issues in social service organizations and faith communities across a broad spectrum. He develops programming that creates spaces for open and honest dialogue about difference, intersectionality and relationship-building and collaborates with grassroots organizations to build networks of faith and community leaders who care about issues that most impact LGBTQI people.

He has served as a Rockwood Leadership Institute Fellow for LGBT Advocacy, a Beatitudes Society Fellow and a Movement Fellow for the Southeast House of Soulforce.

Our Board

Angel Collie
Member

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.

Ken Liberty
Member
Beverly “Mecca” Moss, LPC
Secretary

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.

Brett Steward
Member

Major Funder

General Funders

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You can make a difference in someone's life. Your donation will provide ongoing training, employment opportunities, networking, community development work and protections to low income neighborhoods, communities of color, sexual/gender minorities, youth and elders.
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