Christian Fuscarino has deep roots in New Jersey, growing up in Belmar and spending much of his youth in and around Asbury Park. Fuscarino has been an activist and organizer in the LGBT community for over a decade. He credits his positive experiences in Asbury Park as helping influence him to become an activist. PolitickerNJ named Christian the 2nd most influential advocate in New Jersey politics.
Christian’s story of immersing his early years in LGBT advocacy and education began with formal training through the Gay, Lesbian, Straight, Education Network (GLSEN). Kevin Jennings, GLSEN founder, and his staff recognized Christian’s passion for the cause and became important mentors in his life.
At GLSEN, Christian worked with high school Gay Straight Alliances (GSA) for several years. In 2007, Christian joined the Pride Connections Center of New Jersey as a program developer serving gay inner-city youth. That same year, he won a student Emmy award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for his End the Silence public service announcement. In 2008, Christian founded The Pride Network, a national leadership development non-profit.
In 2013, Christian joined Alan van Capelle, former Executive Director of Empire State Pride Agenda, by serving as his digital strategist at Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice. They focused on mobilizing Jews to advance social issues by speaking out against injustice and inequality. One of the organization’s greatest accomplishments was a campaign that resulted in California Governor Jerry Brown signing The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights.
Christian served as the Communications Director for the Educational Alliance until 2016. The Alliance is a non-profit organization that aims to break the cycle of poverty for low-income children and families through preschool, after school and college prep programs.
Fuscarino’s volunteer work has received numerous accolades, including recognition from the New Jersey State Senate and Assembly, Congressmen Bill Pascrell and Donald Payne, U.S. Senators Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg, and Governor Jon Corzine. Media outlets such as CBS News, Sirius XM and Genre Magazine have featured Christian in groundbreaking stories. Hofstra University honored Christian, an alum, as their 2012 Man of the Year for his work developing a safe-campus space for LGBT students while earning his BA in digital media and LGBT studies.
Christian recently moved back to New Jersey from Brooklyn where he was living with his partner, Aaron Williams, a tennis instructor, now serving in the Marines.
Aaron Potenza is an activist, educator, and historian. While attending graduate school he taught courses on the history of race and ethnicity, sexuality, gender, and gender identity at Yale University and Trinity College Hartford. Prior to attending graduate school he worked in the non-profit world, as a teacher with Talent Development, and then as assistant director for the YWCA of Greater Rhode Island. At the “YW” he pioneered programming for middle school girls facing social and economic barriers, and expanded access to health programming to lesbian and transgender identified women. Aaron received his B.A. in History and Women’s Studies from the University of Rhode Island in 2004, his M.A. in American Studies from Yale University in 2010, and his M.Phil in American Studies from Yale University in 2010. When not working on LGBT youth issues, he runs a mid-century furniture business, Postwar Restore. He also enjoys spending time with his husband James and their delightful German Shepherd Hound Jack.
Benjamin Fisher has been active in social change work for most of the last decade. Originally from Columbia, South Carolina, he graduated from Emory University with a Bachelor of Arts in African Studies and Journalism. After studying abroad in Uganda, he wrote a senior research paper on the 2009 Anti-Homosexuality Bill. He subsequently completed coursework in feminist theory, queer theory, and critical race studies at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. He is currently pursuing a Master's degree in public health at Rutgers University - Newark.
Ben has worked for a number of social justice advocacy organizations. In 2013, he worked for South Carolina Equality supporting projects related to LGBT workplace fairness, transgender voting rights, and school bullying policies. He concurrentl worked with the Carolina Peace Resource Center to address gun control policies in South Carolina and their impact on communities of color; he also served on the board of South Carolina Black Pride.
He joined Planned Parenthood South Atlantic in 2014 as a health insurance enrollment coordinator and assisted community members with the Affordable Care Act enrollment process and provided health insurance education and outreach to underserved populations in Greensboro, North Carolina. Before joining Garden State Equality, he worked as a Research Project Manager at the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies at Columbia University Department of Psychiatry. He currently serves as a volunteer at the Newark LGBTQ Community Center.
In his free time, he enjoys TV show binges, running, theater, perusing used book stores, concerts, and singing songs by his favorite divas at the top of his lungs.
Patrick is responsible for managing the administration, finances, and human resources of Garden State Equality. In short, Patrick makes sure the doors stay open. Additionally, Patrick fields the calls that come in through the Discrimination Hotline, ensuring that GSE is connecting people who need assistance with resources, and he serves as the intake coordinator and supervisor for GSE’s cadre of volunteers and interns. Earlier in his career, Patrick worked in sales and customer service for large New Jersey-based companies in the private sector. Patrick came to Garden State Equality as a volunteer in 2008, when he decided to assist in the campaign to win marriage equality. In 2010, he was elected to the Board of Directors in recognition of his commitment to GSE. A graduate of William Paterson University, Patrick also studied at Montclair State University and Institut Savoisien d’Études Françaises at l’Université de Savoie in Annecy-le-Vieux, France, where he was first in his class.
GARDEN STATE EQUALITY BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Garden State Equality Education Fund Executive Committee
Chair: Franklin Cumberbatch Jr
Treasurer: Lisa Searight
Add’l Members: Luanne Peterpaul, Toni Bonjavanni, Robyn Gigl, Tom Prol, Lee Rosenfield, Zahur Karim, Andrew Brown
Garden State Equality Action Fund Executive Committee
Chair: Luanne Peterpaul
Treasurer: Steve McIntyre
Add’l Members: Tom Prol, Chris Donnelly, Robyn Gigl, Toni Bonjavanni, Lee Rosenfield
Garden State Equality Advisory Board
|Patricia Bell||Marty Finkle||Becky Redington|
|Corey Bernstein||Christopher Gagliardi||Rey Redington|
|Ronnie Billini||Madison Galluccio||Jim Ringwood|
|Lashambi Britton-Moore||Rev. Rose Hardy||Charles Rosen|
|Dr. Stacy Brodsky||Veronica Hoff Kairos||Steve Rother|
|Denise Brunner||Suzanne Kinzler||Jennifer Sciortino|
|Rev. Gil Caldwell||Shannon Kirk||David Sgro|
|Richard Cardillo||Tom Laurita||Marsha Shapiro|
|Salena Carroll||Patrick Lenahan||Elder Rev. Kevin E. Taylor|
|Rev. Matt Cimorelli||Isabella Levy||Mary Theroux|
|Emilia Colon||Felice Londa||Amanda Tolomeo|
|Kevin Costello||Jimmy Madden||Louise Walpin|
|DeAnn Cox||Elizabeth McCarthy||Vicki Wu|
|Pam Daniels||Juan Melli||Betty Wyka|
|Rev Bruce Davidson||Mill Montejo||Paul Zilber|
|Rev. L.L. DuBreuil||Shanna Moore||Rev. Jeff Ziegler|
|Rosi Efthim||Joey Novick||Matthew Zimmer|
|Jennifer Ehrentraut||John Otto III||Sherry Zimmer|
|Leslie Farber||Robert S. Powell||Bob Zuckerman|