Tony Hoang is the Executive Director of Equality California and Silver State Equality and a veteran of the LGBTQ+ equality movement. The son of Vietnam War refugees and the first person in his family to attend college, Tony is a proud first-generation immigrant who grew up understanding the marginalized intersections of sexuality, gender, race and immigration status. Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Tony moved to Los Angeles to attend the University of Southern California. During college, he interned with the Pacific Council on International Policy and Los Angeles County Federation of Labor before joining Equality California as a field intern in 2009, beginning his long career with the organization.
Tony went on to serve as Equality California's Database and Volunteer Manager, Director of Operations, Chief of Staff and Managing Director prior to his selection as Executive Director-designate in 2021. During that time, Tony played a pivotal role in the passage of groundbreaking civil rights legislation in California, Nevada and Washington, DC, implementation of statewide public education campaigns and the election of hundreds of openly LGBTQ+ and pro-equality candidates up and down the ballot. Tony helped usher in a dramatic expansion of Equality California’s budget, staff, programming — especially the organization’s political work and efforts to advance racial justice — and growth to over 900,000 pro-equality members across the country.
Tony serves the City of Los Angeles as a Commissioner on the Innovation and Performance Commission. He also sits on the boards of Equality Federation, the national movement builder and strategic partner to state-based organizations advocating for LGBTQ people, and DTLA Proud. He is a member of the Center for Asian Americans United For Self Empowerment (CAUSE) Leadership Network and the Pacific Council on International Policy and serves as a mentor for the USC Lambda LGBT Alumni Mentoring Program.
Tony received a BA in International Relations at the University of Southern California with minors in Political Science and Natural Sciences. An avid concert-goer, cook, cyclist and traveler, Tony lives in Downtown Los Angeles with his fiancé Ian, an attorney.
Samuel Garrett-Pate is the Managing Director of External Affairs for Equality California and Silver State Equality, where he oversees the organizations' strategic communications and media relations, state and federal legislative advocacy, political affairs and impact litigation. He is Equality California's principal spokesperson and previously served as communications director.
Prior to joining Equality California, Sam was a Senior Account Executive at a strategic communications firm in Los Angeles, where he led public affairs, political strategy and litigation communications campaigns on behalf of the firm's clients. He previously served as a legislative and political aide to New York Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney. Sam received his BA in political science from the George Washington University. Outside of Equality California, he serves as the Co-Chair of LGBTQ Victory Fund’s Victory Campaign Board and as a member of the Board of Directors. Sam lives in Downtown Los Angeles with his cats Jack and Hillary.
Erin Arendse is Equality California's Program Director, leading the organization's programs aimed at reducing disparities in LGBTQ+ health and well-being, empowering LGBTQ+ leaders and increasing civic participation within the LGBTQ+ community. She also oversees the organization's grants fundraising strategy. Prior to joining Equality California, she was the Senior Manager for Grants and Compliance at the Hispanic Scholarship Fund and worked as a freelance and volunteer grant writer for a number of organizations. She graduated from California State University Long Beach with an M.A. in English, and is a former English professor, having taught at Orange Coast College and Biola University. An avid runner and hiker, Erin currently lives in Long Beach.
Tami Martin serves as Equality California's Legislative Director, advancing the LGBTQ+ community's priorities in Sacramento through legislative, budget, and administrative advocacy. She is a graduate of Dartmouth College and received both a law degree and a master's degree in law and government from American University Washington College of Law. Tami also currently serves on the board of the Capitol LGBTQ Association, where she represents the professional needs of advocates in the California State Capitol community, and on the board of the Stonewall Foundation of Greater Sacramento, which fosters the next generation of LGBTQ+ leaders in the Sacramento region. Originally from California, Tami is proud to advocate for the LGBTQ+ community in her home state. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring with her speckled best friend, an adopted Cattle Dog mix named Beau.
Sarah Morrow An serves as Development Director at Equality California, overseeing all fundraising strategies and initiatives for the organization and its subsidiaries. A recent transplant from the New York City area, Sarah has over 10 years of professional development experience including serving as Director of Development at Housing Works Inc., as well as Vice President of the Housing Works Bookstore & Cafe. Prior to Housing Works, Sarah worked at the Metropolitan Opera during their record-breaking 2011-2012 season. Sarah graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with degrees in Communications, Sociology, and with a concentration in Marketing from the Wharton School. Sarah has served proudly on the boards of Housing Works and the West Village Chorale, and was an avid volunteer at the Museum of Modern Art. Sarah now lives in Miracle Mile with her opera-singer husband and two lovable (but exhausting) toddlers. (Photo: Joshua Kristal)
Valerie Ploumpis is National Policy Director for Equality California and Silver State Equality, based in Washington, DC. She is a political expert with more than two decades of experience in issue-advocacy campaigns, grassroots education and mobilization, coalition building, lobbying and media outreach. Past co-chair of two LGBTQ+ organizations, OutRight International Action and the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund’s Campaign Board, she now serves on the Council for Global Equality, a coalition of U.S.-based human rights and LGBTQI advocacy organizations. Prior to joining Equality California, she was a principal at Burnside & Associates and a senior legislative and policy advocate for several international trade organizations in Washington, D.C. She holds a BA in international relations from Mills College and an MA in international relations from Johns Hopkins University. A parent of two 20-somethings, Valerie enjoys swimming, hiking and board games.
Jorge Reyes Salinas is the Communications Director for Equality California and Silver State Equality, based in Sacramento. He was born in Lima, Peru, and grew up in the San Fernando Valley. He is a graduate of Cal State Northridge, where he received a Master's Degree in Communication Studies and Bachelor's degree in Journalism. As a student at Cal State Northridge, he was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to serve on the CSU Board of Trustees. Jorge recently served as Senator Monique Limón's Communications Director. Before that, he served as an Assembly Fellow in the office of Assemblymember Kevin Mullin and as a District Representative for Senate Majority Leader Bob Hertzberg. Jorge lives in Sacramento with his Chihuahua Terrier named Chanel and, in his free time, enjoys dancing, eating Hot Cheetos, and ordering Starbucks holiday drinks.
Tom Temprano is the San Francisco-based Political Director at Equality California, where he leads the organization's political engagement, electoral and civic engagement programs. Prior to joining Equality California Tom worked as Chief of Staff for San Francisco District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman where he focused on LGBTQ+, small business, budget, and cannabis policy. Tom also served as an elected member of the San Francisco City College Board of Trustees for 5 years. He previously served as a President, Co-President and PAC Chair of the Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club and is a former board member of the San Francisco LGBT Community Center. Tom is a passionate basketball fan and enjoys exploring California with his partner Andrew and Chihuahua mix Valerie.
André C. Wade is the state director for Silver State Equality. In this role he leads legislative, fundraising and political efforts in the state of Nevada. With a Bachelor’s in Psychology and a Master’s in Public Administration, André has worked in human services for nearly 25 years in a variety of public and nonprofit contexts working on issues such as developmental disabilities, child welfare, youth experiencing homelessness national policy advocacy, diversity, equity and inclusion, and LGBTQ+ advocacy. André has served on several boards and committees focused on LGBTQ+ equality and inclusion such as the Human Rights Campaign’s Advisory Council for the All Children’s All Families program. Andre is a two-time appointee to Governor Sisolak’s Advisory Task Force on HIV Exposure Modernization for the State of Nevada. A native of Las Vegas, Nevada, André is a certified yoga instructor who loves spending time with his partner, Jorge, traveling to new places and having interesting experiences attending concerts, and sneaking in time reading, writing and spending time with loved ones.
Chris Negri is an Associate Program Director at Equality California, overseeing education programs. Prior to joining Equality California Institute, Chris taught high school Special Education for four years in Highland Park, California. After leaving the classroom, he worked in philanthropy, community organizing, and development with the USC Shoah Foundation, Karam Foundation, and other organizations. Chris has Master’s degrees in Public Policy and Urban Planning from USC, an MA in Special Education from Loyola Marymount, and a BA in History from UC Riverside. He also holds a Project Management Professional certification from the Project Management Institute. When not working at Equality California Institute, he serves as a Religious Advisor and Program Coordinator for Catholic students at Occidental College.
Mike Ai is Manager of Electoral Programs and Special Projects focusing on Equality California's candidate endorsements, electoral programs and special projects for the executive director and managing director. Prior to joining EQCA, Mike was the LGBTQ Liaison and Legislative Deputy for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the Deputy District Director for Councilman Mike Bonin. Mike rejoins the EQCA team after previously working for the organization as the Los Angeles Campaign Manager during the fight for marriage equality. Mike graduated from UCLA with a BA in Economics and a minor in Accounting. He lives in West Hollywood with his dog Coco.
Wendy Anguiano is a program manager at Equality California, primarily responsible for assisting with the LGBTQ+ Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Training. Wendy has previously volunteered at LGBTQ+ nonprofits and worked in higher education within student affairs, focusing on LGBTQ+ centers. She holds a Dual BA in Women and Gender Studies and English from California State University, Fullerton, and a Dual MA from Claremont Graduate University in Applied Gender Studies and Community-Engaged Education and Social Change. Originally from Los Angeles, Wendy is excited to be back! In her free time, Wendy enjoys eating vegan ice cream and going to karaoke with all her friends.
Michelle Castillo is the Administrative Manager for Equality California. She assists with ensuring effective and professional day-to-day infrastructure operations, and provides support in finance, human resources, technology and general administration. Prior to joining Equality California, Michelle was the Administrative/Operations Manager for Crossroads, a nonprofit project that raised funds to preserve democratic principles in Israel, and the Corporate Services Manager for Navigage, a nonprofit continuing care retirement community where she managed diverse small business functions. Michelle holds a BA in Broadcasting from California State University of Los Angeles and an MBA from University of Phoenix. She is an avid supporter of community gardens, Griffith Park and her pups Nick and Willie.
Tymothie-James Bergendahl is a Development Associate for Equality California. Prior to moving to Los Angeles, they served on the board of JTIMA, an LGBT civil rights organization based in and around Boston, as well as co-managed the Massachusetts chapter of GetEqual, a national LGBT focused civil rights organization. Their work in Boston was primarily focused on LGBT youth homelessness and the rights and protections of transgender individuals within the state.
Jasmine Pantoja is the Communications Manager at Equality California and Equality California Institute based in Los Angeles. She oversees programmatic press and media relations. Jasmine grew up in the Central Valley where she obtained a BA in Communications from California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB). Jasmine brings a wealth of experience as the Dolores Huerta Foundation’s former Communications Coordinator and CSUB The Runner Newspaper's Business Manager. In her spare time, you can find Jasmine watching a live band perform and spending time with her family.
Beatriz Baez is a Program Manager at Equality California, focusing on the OUT Against Big Tobacco Program in the Central Valley. Prior to joining Equality California, Beatriz worked in the field of Higher Education and Student Affairs working with students and supporting their development and retention through higher education. She received a BA from the University of California, Santa Cruz in Politics and Latin American and Latino Studies and a MA from CSU Fresno in Higher Education, Administration, and Leadership. Beatriz resides in the Central Valley with her cats and enjoys reading, gardening, and Netflix originals.
Marisa De Los Santos is an Events Manager for Equality California, where she supports the planning and production of all fundraising and donor engagement events. Prior to joining Equality California, Marisa worked for the nonprofit fundraising software company OneCause, and previously worked with the Youth Services Program at the LGBTQ Center Long Beach and for GLAAD helping to coordinate the organization’s annual Media Awards. Marisa holds a BA in Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies from California State University, Long Beach. She is a volunteer with Pride Inc., AIDS Walk and the AIDS Foodstore. Marisa lives in Long Beach with her wife Jaymee and dog Ebby, and she enjoys going to concerts and ballets.
Alexandra - Grissell Gomez (Ale) is the Senior Program Associate with the LGBTQ+ Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Institute at Equality California. She primarily supports curriculum development and facilitation of LGBTQ+ DEI workshops for healthcare workers and homeless service providers. Prior to joining the team, Ale worked at the Williams Institute. Ale considers themselves a bridge between institutions and activism, with their queer and trans work drawing from community, scholarship, and political engagement. Their experience ranges from facilitating Gender 101 for the Oaxaqueño Youth Encuentro, to providing personal testimonio as a panelist for the “LGBTQ Parenting 2020: Lessons from the Front Lines & Challenges Ahead” at the Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law. Ale holds a B.A. in Psychology from California State University Long Beach, and an M.A. in Women’s Studies from San Diego State University.
Andrew Giang is a Senior Program Associate at Equality California who works on education programs. Prior to joining Equality California Institute, Andrew worked as a consultant, writer, editor, educator, and community representative for underserved communities in Los Angeles, California, and Wahiawa, Hawai'i. His work has consistently addressed inequity and school climate issues in Title I schools, establishing recognized after-school programs and lasting partnerships that positively promote education and public health in the local community. Andrew holds a M.S. in Education from Johns Hopkins University as well as a B.S. in Biopsychology and B.A. in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Alexandria Hughes (Allie) is the Grants Manager for Equality California Institute, responsible for all aspects of grant prospecting, proposal writing and grant management. Prior to their work in the Californian non-profit sector, Allie lived in Leeds, England. During their time in ‘the North’ Allie worked in academia as a social policy teacher and PhD researcher, as well as in the community as an independent-living assistant and disability rights advocate. Allie holds their B.A. and M.A. in Sociology and Social Policy from the University of Leeds. In their spare time Allie can be found spending time in nature with their kid, at queer DIY events, and trying to keep their houseplants alive.
Cindy López is a Regional Field Organizer at Equality California, focusing on mobilizing members and volunteers to support Equality California’s endorsed candidates in San Diego County. Prior to joining Equality California, Cindy was an Area Director for teachers’ union, San Diego Educators Association, where she worked on revamping the voluntary funding structure of the union’s PAC to support local endorsed candidates and measures from the standpoint of educational issues. She previously served as a Teach For America corps member and taught bilingual elementary education in her childhood neighborhood.
Cindy holds a B.A. in Political Science from San Diego State University, and a M.Ed. with emphasis in Equity, Policy, Organization, and Leadership from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She enjoys trips with her daughter, Darla, to Balboa Park's museums and the San Diego Zoo, and is also an avid latin music performer.
Christopher Sandino is Equality California's Regional Field Organizer for Palm Springs. He oversees the grassroots engagement of Equality California members and works to activate those members to support candidates, ballot proposals and other policy initiatives that affect the Coachella Valley and Inland Empire. Before joining the Equality California team, Christopher lived and worked in Sacramento on various state and local campaigns working primarily communications and grassroots engagement. He also worked briefly with the State of California for the Office of Legislative Counsel. Christopher also worked briefly in the legal field, and hopes to attend law school to practice civil rights litigation in the future. He graduated with his Bachelor of Arts in 2020 from Biola University located in Los Angeles. Christopher enjoys golfing, roller skating, and attending concerts and music festivals in his free time.
Matthew Adams is Equality California's Regional Field Organizer for Sacramento, striving to recruit volunteers and organize around various events, actions, and campaigns in the region. Prior to joining Equality California, Matthew worked with candidates, elected officials, and non-profits in the Sacramento area, with his primary focus being on volunteer management and outreach. He also has worked in the education field, dabbling as both an educator and an education assistant. Matthew holds a B.A. in Government from Sacramento State and enjoys performing improvisational comedy, which he did professionally in a past life. You can often find him illuminating others on the splendor that is the music of Taylor Swift.
Sarah Seville is engaged in a one-year postgraduate law fellowship here at Equality California, in partnership with UCLA School of Law. She is the recipient of the University of California’s President’s Public Service Law Fellowship, with a focus on LGBTQ+ law and policy and a deep love of family law and health law. She assists with projects related to Equality California’s legislative and litigation work. She received her B.A. in English and Gender & Sexuality Studies from University of California, Irvine and her J.D. from the UCLA School of Law. Originally from Idaho, Sarah now lives in Southern California and is pretty sure it would take being hauled out with a forklift to make her leave.