WHO WE ARE
Meet the 2019 Pride Portland! Steering Committee
Cybele Brandow (they/them)
Cybele has been actively involved in queer community organization for more than ten years. They have lived and worked variously in Portland (Oregon), New York City, New Jersey, Tokyo, and Kyoto, with shorter stints in California's Bay Area, Seattle, Toronto, and Baltimore. They hope to bring their diverse experiences and the perspectives they have gained over the course of their adventures to-date back to Portland, the city in which they were born and raised. They are excited to help fight for a better, more inclusive, more historically aware and politically relevant Pride for all.
Sebastiane Sacerdoti-Ravenscroft (she/them)
An autistic raconteur with a dry sense of humour, Sebastiane was born in San Francisco but grew up in England. Now having recently relocated from London to Portland, they are excited to be a member of the Maine queer community. Having a strong background in project management, Sebastiane has worked in a variety of different fields, including non-profit, health, international business and charity work. They have also travelled and worked in Tokyo, Mumbai and Johannesburg. When not working, Sebastiane and their wife Justine, spends their free time working on their mental health podcast or exploring New England with their two rowdy shiba inus Skwisgaar and Gnocchi.
An ally since at least the 80’s, Jan likes to use her organizational and bookkeeping skills for the greater good. In addition to Pride Portland, she volunteers with WMPG-FM (data entry / donor billing / donor database), and the Southern Maine Workers’ Center (data entry / onsite child care). On the home front, she is Trustee for her family’s Camp in Rangeley, reads a couple of novels a week, binge-watches TV series after they’ve been cancelled, snuggles her two cats, and engages in silly word-play with her spouse. Somehow, she also makes sure to find time each week for her 9-5 job.
Kelly Locke (she/her)
Kelly grew up in NH and has been volunteering since middle school. She relocated to the West Coast to serve with Americorps doing a variety of projects ranging from environmental conservation to education and community outreach. Wanting to continue to make a difference in the community she became involved in early childhood education in Seattle. She returned to New England to start a family and set roots again on the East Coast. She built and created her own unique preschool program that offers structure and learning opportunities, as well as a small and personal "family" environment that focuses on building confidence through teaching strong communication and conflict resolution skills. She is passionate about being a mom and her work with the future generations.
Sara Cooper (she/her)
Sara is a California native who considers herself extremely lucky to now call Portland her home. Passionate about giving back to her community, she has spent many years volunteering for organizations like the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Models of Pride, Peoples’ Self-Help Housing, and now Pride Portland!
When she’s not working or volunteering, Sara spends her time reading, creating, being in or near water, and learning from the amazing people she meets on a daily basis in Maine.
Sara lives in Portland with her partner Jesse and their unruly (but adorable) dog Mia.
Alix Towler (any)
Alix is an artist and filmmaker from North Carolina who is delighted to have found a community of kindred spirits and a place to put down roots in Portland. They enjoy hosting queer trivia nights in Westbrook, trying new gluten free bake shops, and walking the streets and trails of Portland with their dog. A southerner at heart, they live in eternal fear of the Maine winters.
Alix is excited to plan events for Pride Portland and welcomes feedback and suggestions from the queer community for the upcoming year.
Priscilla M. Acosta (she/her)
Originally from sunny Florida, Priscilla always knew she was a Northeaster at heart. After traveling up north to New York's capital region for school, she decided to start her marketing career in Portland, Maine! Having worked for a private company for over a year, Priscilla decided to start her own business with her partner, EID Visions, providing business solutions and marketing services to small businesses and start-ups. She is looking forward to utilizing her company resources and expertise to benefit Pride Portland!!
When Priscilla isn't working, she enjoys trying new foods and going to craft breweries and distilleries. She enjoys surfing on the internet and watching cartoons. Priscilla and her partner, Orlando, also have a wonderful Calico/Siamese cat named Addie who loves to chase her own tail and yell at her humans constantly for food.
Meagan L Lauer (she/her)
Meagan is a queer and poly non-profit professional and activist who lives in the Parkside neighborhood of Portland with her anchor partner Anna. She has done work in community development, progressive political advocacy, community organizing, fundraising, facilitation, and currently affordable housing. Raised in a Catholic Midwestern family, Meagan came out in her early 20s and has since found a sense of belonging in the LGBTQ+ community in greater Portland. Bringing an intersectional approach to the work she does, Meagan is passionate about engaging and recognizing donors large and small, offering a wide variety of events that serve a wide variety of identities and interests, and hosting an even more accessible, safe, and empowering Pride festival.
Rebecca Tanous (she/her)
Justine Taylor (she/her)
Justine is a Maine native and longtime Portland resident with big love for our little city. She has worked across a variety of organizations including insurance, marketing, and nonprofit, and has always been involved in local charities. Justine is a student at the University of Southern Maine and is looking forward to starting her graduate degree next fall. When not in class, Justine can be found hunched over her laptop writing or adventuring around town with her wife, Sebastiane.
Ren Morrill (any)
Ren is an at large member of the steering committee, assisting where needed, increasing visibility of LGBTQ+ friendly sexual health providers and acting as as liason between Portland’s community radio station WMPG. Ren works for Frannie Peabody Center in their prevention program doing testing, education and outreach in York and Cumberland counties. He is also a volunteer DJ at WMPG where he occasionally spins queer dance music under his alter ego DJ Qwerewolf. Ren is very excited to be joining the steering committee.
Lawrence Jackson-Rosen (he/him)
Lawrence has been involved with leadership of non-profit groups around the country, both professionally and as a volunteer, and fought for civil rights for over four decades. He has helped to guide LGBTQ+ organizations for more than three decades, including working on Houston’s Pride Parade for Stonewall 20. In addition to serving on the Pride Portland! Steering Committee, Lawrence chairs the Keshet (rainbow) Committee for Temple Beth El in Portland.
Abigail Borcherds (she/her)
Abigail grew up on the east coast, split pretty evenly between Massachusetts and Florida, and can’t imagine living more inland. Although she will gladly take rainy days over sunny ones since they are the best days to read and nap, with the added benefit of not being able to get sunburnt.
Though Abigail has only lived in Maine for a few years she is still excited to travel around and explore all that Maine has to offer - from downtown Portland to Maine’s many mountains and waterfalls. She can’t wait to give back to the community that has made her feel welcome.
James Melanson (they/them)
James has lived in Portland for their entire adult life and attended the very first Portland Pride in 1987. James has worked and volunteered extensively as a political activist. Among their various political endeavors over the years, James worked as a co-facilitator and peer counselor at the Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual Alliance at USM; volunteered as a writer for Portland’s queer newspaper “Our Paper”; and co-founded ACT UP Portland, Queer Nation Portland, and Feminists Against Rape. James has also volunteered for SARSSM, and after returning to USM to finish their degree, proudly graduated with a Women’s Studies degree.
James helped restart Pride in 2014 with an amazing and remarkable group of people and worked on the accessibility committee. James has an extensive collection of Wonder Woman merchandise, which delights them tremendously. Most importantly of all, James lives with Peter, his partner in crime for 30 years, and their two fur babies, Dolly and Boo.