Board and Staff
Melissa Moore- Executive Director
Melissa, a native of Charleston, SC, earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology from the College of Charleston. She currently serves as the Executive Director for We Are Family, where she engages in asset-based community development and support services for youth who have been marginalized on the basis of their real or perceived sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Melissa is a published writer and a founder of the Charleston Gay Pride festival. She is the 2016 recipient of the Center for Women Influential Women In Business “Rising Star” award, as well as the 2015 Alliance For Full Acceptance Advocacy Award. She has worked toward LGBT liberation for more than a decade and has held staff positions at SC Equality and Alliance For Full Acceptance.
Nijeeah Richardson, LMSW- Director of Support Programs and Case Management
Nijeeah Richardson is a young licensed masters-level social worker and activist from Charleston, SC. Nijeeah completed their Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) in2015 and Master of Social Work (MSW) in 2017 at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC. As an undergraduate, Nijeeah interned at Time Out Youth, a local LGBTQ youth center in Charlotte, NC. For their graduate field experience, Nijeeah interned at the Freedom Center for Social Justice, also located in Charlotte, NC. They currently work as a behavioral interventionist at Justice Works Behavioral Care in Charleston, SC. Nijeeah is a co-founder and workshop facilitator with the Transformative Teaching Collective, a cooperative based in Charleston that provides social justice education to schools, community groups, non-profits and government organizations. In the past, Nijeeah has also worked as an assistant preschool teacher. They continue to organize and volunteer with various grassroots organization in their hometown of Charleston, SC.
Cator Sparks- Chair
Jessie Parks- Vice Chair
A lifelong South Carolina resident, Jessie Parks moved to Charleston after obtaining a bachelor of arts in philosophy from Clemson University. She hails from a long line of strong, socially conscious Southern women and is passionate about continuing that tradition. Jessie believes that grassroots organizing is key to making her home state a more progressive and tolerant place, and she has volunteered for numerous nonprofits and social movements, including Girls Rock Charleston, and Occupy Charleston. In her spare time, she enjoys thrifting, playing dress-up, and relaxing with her fiance, Scott, and their three rescue critters.
Leigh LaChapelle- Secretary
Leigh is a Charleston native and recent College of Charleston graduate with degrees in both Psychology and Gender Studies. Leigh volunteers with local community organizations including Carolina Youth Action Project, Charleston Alternative to Detention Initiative, and Queer Oriented Radical Days of Summer. In addition to serving on the board, they assist with Trans Love Fund and youth programming for We Are Family. They are most passionate about prison abolition, queer liberation, and improving community mental health response.
Kris Grafing- Treasurer
Kris has called Charleston home on-and-off again for the past 30 years, and brings to the board over 20 years of non-profit and accounting experience. As a former youth member of We Are Family, Kris is passionate about serving the LQBTQQI and straight ally youth community, and the under-housed in his hometown. When not working as an accountant, you can find Kris out on Wadmalaw Island tending to his chickens and numerous fur babies. Kris strongly believes that Black lives matter, trans rights are human rights, the patriarchy should be smashed, and that the Super Nintendo is the greatest gaming system of all time.
Jonatan Guerrero Ramirez
Jonatan Guerrero Ramirez was born in Celaya, Mexico and moved to the United States at the age of 5. Growing up in the small town of Waynesboro Georgia, Jonatan was involved in music, theatre and dance where he was even featured in Teen Vogue Magazine and receiving recognitions such as ‘Best in Theatrical Caption” from the Georgia literacy Association. After moving to Charleston in 2014, Jonatan started working in fashion through styling, PR, and special event planning. Some of his work includes Charleston Fashion Week, Lowcounty Live, and Bravo TV’s Southern Charm. While working with the city during special projects, Jonatan became a strong supporter of animal rights, LGBTQI rights, adult education, as well as one of the youngest Hispanic activists in the low country. His passion for children and helping others is his driving force to “Keep moving forward”. www.jonatanguerreroramirez.com Social Media: @jonatanguerreroramirez
KJ is a Charleston native, and a current West Ashley resident. He graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2012 with a BA in Criminal Justice and moved back to Charleston shortly thereafter with his wife, Sam. He has been working here as a police officer, with a particular interest in improving the department’s policies and relationships with LGBTQ community members. KJ is also a dog dad to an 8 year old Jack Russell Terrier/Muppet mix, Emma, and has a wide range of interests. On any given day, you may find him either out on the water fishing and kayaking or practicing yoga. He also enjoys more low-key activities like podcasts, savoring his eighth cup of coffee for the day, and crafting.
Lee Anne Leland
Lee Anne Leland is a native Charlestonian who resides in McClellanville, SC with her wife of 18 years, 17 adopted dogs, a parrot and a pet possum. In 1974 she graduated from St. Andrews College with a degree in word literature. After college she entered the construction field and eventually became a restoration carpenter working on some of the most historic properties in the Charleston area. Currently employed as the building manager for a local private school she devotes much of her free time to her family and working for LGBTQI rights. She is co-facilitator for the Charleston Area Transgender Support group and recently was named to the board of We Are Family. Her goal is equality for all, focusing on LGBTQI youth and their struggle for acceptance.