WASHINGTON — The Biden Foundation on Jan. 22 announced the formation of two advisory councils that will support its work to end violence against women and advance LGBTQ equality.
Advisory council members are respected leaders, experts and advocates at the forefront of their fields, who were chosen to advise the foundation because they understand the complexities of the broad challenges they aim to address. Recognizing the power of public-private initiatives, they will serve as ambassadors for the Biden Foundation, guiding strategic partnerships to create societal change.
“Jill and I believe that, in America, everyone deserves a fair shot at the American dream. That starts by making sure every person is treated with equal dignity,” said former Vice President Joe Biden, honorary co-chair of the foundation. “The members named to the advisory councils today have devoted their lives to that creed, and we’re lucky to have them lend their expertise to this mission. By working together, we can do more to protect the rights of all people, expand access to opportunity and give every American a chance at a middle-class life. I am eager for what we will accomplish together.”
“Each of the advisory council members has made it their life’s work to protect and advance the rights of the most vulnerable,” said Biden Foundation Executive Director Louisa Terrell. “We’re honored to have them volunteer their knowledge to the foundation as we work together to build a more just society.”
Members named to the LGBTQ Equality Advisory Council include Marsha Aizumi, an author, speaker, educator and advocate for the LGBT community. She serves on the PFLAG National Board of Directors and its Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and is co-founder and current president of PFLAG San Gabriel Valley Asian Pacific Islander.
She is author of “Two Spirits, One Heart,” a memoir that chronicles her journey from fear, shame and sadness to unconditional love and acceptance as she navigated the transition of her son from female to male. She has spoken to over 150 schools and organizations around the country and co-founded Okaeri: A Nikkei LGBTQ Gathering.
Aizumi has received honors from Rep. Judy Chu, Seattle JACL and Japanese American Citizens League, which named her Japanese American of the Biennium for Education and Humanities. In 2015, she was honored as a Trailblazer Parent by Logo TV, a National Queer API Community Catalyst recipient, and Children’s Hospital Champion Fund Angel of Change.
She is the proud mother of two sons and has been married for to her husband Tad for 45 years.
“I have admired Vice President Biden since the 1970s and Dr. Jill Biden since she spoke at a PFLAG convention many years ago,” said Aizumi. “The Biden Foundation is continuing their mission to build a world where everyone is equal in human dignity. I am proud to be part of their mission.”
Also serving on the advisory council are:
– Cyndi Lauper, singer, songwriter, actress, activist; founder, True Colors Fund
– Sara Ramírez, Tony Award–winning actress and activist
– Jason Collins, professional basketball player (retired)
– Sarah McBride, national press secretary, Human Rights Campaign
– Phillip Picardi, chief content officer, Them and Teen Vogue
– Judy Shepard, president, Matthew Shepard Foundation
– Evan Wolfson, founder and former president, Freedom to Marry
– Dr. Eliza Byard, executive director, Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network
– Michael Guest, former U.S. ambassador to Romania
– Mara Keisling, founder and executive director, National Center for Transgender Equality
– Dr. Caitlin Ryan, director and co-founder, Family Acceptance Project
– Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, founding executive director, Campaign for Southern Equality; minister, United Church of Christ
– Jacob Tobia, writer, producer, author
– Amit Paley, CEO and executive director, Trevor Project
– Precious Davis, activist, educator, public speaker
Advisory council members will advise foundation programs, enlist feedback from diverse networks and communities, and spearhead external partnerships on behalf of the foundation to catalyze meaningful and measurable change. The first meeting of the advisory councils will be held by phone at the beginning of 2018, and members are expected to convene in person at least once every year.
The foundation will name advisory council members for its other policy areas in the coming year.
For more information, visit http://bidenfoundation.org or follow the Biden Foundation on Twitter and Facebook.