Affirming For All: 2024 Interfaith Allyship Panel

Saturday, March 23, 2024, 1:30-3:30pm ET
The LGBT Community Center

Navigating one’s LGBTQ+ identity on top of a religious one can prove difficult, and is unique to every person. How can a faith community, as allies, foster a space that helps LGBTQ+ people of faith find that fullness in themselves? No person should have to choose between different parts of themselves.

Affirming For All will be a moderated talk with experts and leaders from different faith traditions discussing how communities of any faith can not only be accepting of their LGBTQ+ brethren, but affirming. Don’t miss this insightful, incredible event – register today!

Please register to let us know if you can make it. If you have any questions or are unable to register via the form, please contact or find us at the event:

Saturday, March 23, 2024, 1:30-3:30pm ET
The LGBT Community Center
208 W 13th St
New York, NY 10011

Our Guests

Melissa D’Andrea Sullivan (she/her), Moderator
Executive Director of PFLAG NYC

Melissa D’Andrea is a New York native, born and raised in Brooklyn, and living in the Bronx. She is a youth development professional with 20 years of experience in program design and implementation for NYC youth and families. She comes to PFLAG NYC from the Girl Scouts of Greater New York, where she has overseen all program strategy and implementation as Chief Program Officer, a core member of the executive leadership team. Previously she was the Vice President of Programs for Girls Incorporated of New York City. Aside from her day job, she enjoys consulting for start-up non-profits on programming, operations, grant-writing, and fund development; and volunteering with hospice patients, LGBTQIA+ youth, and justice-system impacted youth. 

Melissa has a BA degree in Human Services from SUNY Empire State College, and is completing her MBA from Thomas Edison State University. She holds Graduate Certificates in Fundraising and Board Development and Nonprofit Management from SUNY Purchase College, a Certificate in Mentoring Supervision from Fordham University and is a 2017 New York Community Trust Leadership Fellow. 

Melissa credits her career path to the foundation she received from her own experience growing up in youth development programs in New York City. In particular, the Youth Enrichment Services Program at the LGBT Community Center, the Girl Scouts of Greater New York, GLSEN, and the HEART (HIV/AIDS Education Activism Resources Team) Club at Edward R. Murrow High School in Brooklyn.

Sontaia P. Briggs (she/her), Panelist
LGBTQ+ Faith Advocate

Sontaia P. Briggs is a youth and education specialist passionate about her work in online ministry uplifting and affirming the gifts of youth and young adults and providing in-person college access/success coaching and counseling. She works with a bipartisan, multi-faith coalition to advocate for LGBT equality, resulting in the successful passage of the Respect for Marriage Act. A national voice on religious freedom and LGBT equality, working especially with traditional religions to advance understanding, cooperation, and flourishing for all people. Sontaia authors youth and young adult programs and workshops and is a consultant working with nonprofits and churches. She is a sought-after LGBTQIA inclusion trainer and motivational speaker who has worked with PARITY NYC, Blanton-Peale Institute and Counseling Center, Park United Methodist Church, and NMAC Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Sontaia holds a Master of Public Administration from Rutgers University and a Master of Arts in Youth Ministry from New York Theological Seminary.

Father Paul Rospond (he/him/his), Panelist
Pastor, Church of St. Paul the Apostle

Father Paul Rospond (he/him/his) is a priest with the Paulist Fathers, a Catholic religious community founded here in NYC back in 1858. After many years working with University students at Univ. of Texas, UCLA, UCSB, and Cal he has returned to New York in 2019 to serve as associate pastor at the Church of St. Paul the Apostle on Columbus Ave. and 60th Street where serves as chaplain for Out at St. Paul, a large and active parish ministry with LGBTQ+ Catholics and our allies.

Wazina Zondon (they/she), Panelist
Muslim Storyteller and Creator

An Afghan raised in New York City, Wazina is a queered Muslim storyteller centering collective memories, tradition and rites of passages in the Afghan diaspora. An “undisciplined” performer and creator, she is the co-presenter of Coming Out Muslim: Radical Acts of Love, a storytelling performance capturing the experience of being queer and Muslim alongside her creative counterpart, Terna Tilley-Gyado.

She is included in Reebok’s 2020 #AllTypesofLove Pride Campaign, Esquire Singapore, Advocate Magazine’s 2019 Champions of Pride, HBO’s OutList, HuffPost, VICE/Broadly, them., Season 2 of The Secret Life of Muslims and The Muslims of Brooklyn Oral History Project. Currently, she makes and sells third culture adornments through Bibi Adorns; when writer’s block is not in the way, she is working on (re)tracing her family’s love story and inherited love print.

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