By Lauren Zumpano
GALAEI, a non-profit organization dedicated to Queer Latin@ social justice, has announced that Nicole “Nikki Lopez” will be taking over the reigns as the new Executive Director.
“This is truly a GALAEI homecoming,” stated Rafael Alvarez Febo, GALAEI’s Board President. “Nikki was an integral part in the evolution of GALAEI’s mission and direction; we are ready to start a new chapter in the history of our organization under Nikki’s leadership!”
She replaces Elicia Gonzales, who was with the organization for more than six years and spear-headed their move from Center City to North Philly, as well as a host of other notable accomplishments during her time as ED. Elicia left GALAEI in February 2016, and Miguel Andrade has been serving as interim ED for the past 6 months.
Among other duties, Lopez will be responsible for overseeing the annual budget and a staff of 7 people who provide education, outreach, prevention, and care services to 5,000 Philadelphians annually.
Nikki is a familiar face and name to the queer community in Philadelphia, as she has long been a fixture in the queer party scene, spinning under the name DJ NiiLo [see: Getting Personal With Philly’s Premier Lesbian & Queer DJ’s.] She previously worked at GALAEI as their youth coordinator until August 2014 when she left to pursue finishing her Master’s degree at Rutgers University-Newark. She brings to the role more than 10 years of non-profit experience. According to a press release issued by GALAEI, ” Intentionality and intersectionality are keystones of her work as an activist, where she advocates strongly for marginalized communities in spaces where visibly queer, female, and Latinx person are rare.”
While at Rutgers, Nikki continued her work in the liberation of queer people of color as she served as the Operations Manager at FIERCE NYC, a membership based organization that builds the leadership and power of LGTBQ youth of color in New York City.
“I’m elated to bring forward my commitment, passion, and creativity in continuing to serve the LGBTQ and Latinx community of Philadelphia and as GALAEI’s new Executive Director. ¡Pa’lante Sigue, Sigue Pa’lante!”, says Lopez.