Tonyia M. Rawls (Founder/Executive 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. Bishop Rawls’ pronouns are she/her/hers.

Resa Baudoin (Operations Manager)

Resa joined the Freedom Center in November 2017 after working at the Lupus Foundation of America and comes with an amazing set of organizational, donor development, and personnel experience.  Her high energy, dedication, and positive approach to her job is what has us so excited about welcoming her to the team. Resa’spronouns are she/her/hers.

Jamila Reddy (Communications Coordinator)

Outside of her role at the Freedom Center, Jamila is writer, public speaker, and personal development coach passionate about helping people live joyful, liberated, extraordinary lives. No matter the form, all of Jamila’s work centers the liberation of Black people, POC, queer folks, trans/GNC folks, women and femmes. As a practicing Nichiren Buddhist, Jamila’s contribution to the struggle for world peace is an ongoing cultivation of her best, most authentic self. Jamila’s pronouns are she/her/hers and/or they/them/theirs.

Sam Poler (Programs Coordinator)

Sam Poler is a community organizer whose strengths include creating organizational structures – i.e. lots of spreadsheets, managing behind the scenes logistics, and supporting organizing skill development. Sam’s work stems from an anti-capitalist and worker-solidarity perspective. They are active in their local faith community organizing around racial inequity. Additionally, they organize with a community service and political empowerment organization that believes in solidarity with the community and revolution against the forces of oppression. Sam’s pronouns are they/them/theirs.

Michelle Scott (Organizer)

Michelle Scott is an Organizer whose entire life has been dedicated to community service. She spent 28 years in the Army, starting out as an ROTC commissioned Lieutenant and retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel.  Before joining the Freedom Center, she worked as an Office Manager at Professional One-to-One Services, serving special needs individuals assisting them to become employment-ready.  Prior to that, she worked with Goodwill and Crisis Ministry as a Case Manager for the Cars for Work Program, where she provided vehicles to Single Parents, without a vehicle, with a need to enhance their chances in the workforce. Michelle holds a BS in Psychology from Morgan State University and an MA in Church and Ministry from Regent University, and is also a Certified Life Coach. Michelle’s pronouns are she/her/hers.

Ash Love (Faith Organizing Director)

Ash Love is a macro level social worker with a focus in community organizing and social action. Over the last 12 years, Ash has worked with and managed nonprofit organizations providing programs and services to marginalized communities. Her organizing background includes political organizing, youth advocacy, faith-based organizing, coalition building and developing social action initiatives. Ash is committed to promoting racial, gender and social equity across communities of color. She is also a published poet and visual artist. She earned a Masters in Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh. Ash’s pronouns are she/her/hers.


Brett Steward
Ken Liberty
Angel Collie

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. Angel’s pronouns are he/him/his.

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