This week, Garden State Equality welcomed two new members to our team: Kadja Manuel, who will be our Community Organizer, and Jahmila Smith, who will be our Project Manager and Trainer.
Kadja Manuel is a proud Trenton, New Jersey native and serves as the Executive Assistant and Community Organizer to Garden State Equality. Prior to joining GSE, Kadja served as the Vice President of Student Veterans of America’s (SVA) Staten Island location. Prior to SVA, Kadja served in the U.S. Army for 6 years with a Military Occupational Specialty of Human Resources Specialist. Kadja has held the titles of Public Affairs Officer, Human Resources Officer, and Executive Administrative Supervisor. Kadja is also a contributor to OUT-In-Jersey Magazine and has been involved with the LGBTQ rights movement since 2013. Kadja also serves as the 3rd Vice President of the Trenton Branch NAACP where he is Chair of the Armed Services & Veteran Affairs Committee and LGBTQ Committee.
Jahmila Smith is a proud Bronx native with over four years of experience working with diverse groups and populations. Her work and advocacy started during her undergrad years at Hofstra University, where she majored in Sociology, with minors in Psychology and Women’s Studies. Jahmila became a member of The Pride Network, the LGBTQ organization on campus. She continued this work post grad, supporting young adults in middle school and high school. She has worked with Phipps Neighborhoods, in The Bronx, where she was a student advocate, and then became Program Coordinator, where she focused on the daily activities and functioning of one of their after school programs. She went on to work at Graham Windham, working and coaching young people to age 26. She is passionate about mental health and wellness, women empowerment, social emotional learning, literacy, nutrition, and community activism.
We are so excited to have these two passionate advocates joining our team and look forward to all of the work we can accomplish together for LGBTQ+ New Jerseyans.