The Village Griots
The Speaker's Bureau
The Speaker's Bureau is a consortium of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), Queer & Trans People of Color (QTPOC), and other marginalized groups (e.g. immigrants, undocumented persons, formerly incarcerated persons, veterans, etc.) who are available to speak about their experiences, give talks, join panels, inform initiatives, etc. They can participate via virtual platforms, and in some circumstances can be available in person.
You can contact the individuals directly to discuss details, availability, and to determine the amount of the honorarium* to be paid to the speaker.
*It is important to normalize paying members of marginalized communities for their time, service, and vital contributions instead of asking them to perform such labor for free.
Areas: Trans, Queer, BIPOC, Disablities
Ajani Walden is a queer, Black, transgender rights advocate. Before joining the staff at Left Turn Village as the Program & Research Consultant, he interned with Hudson Pride Center’s lead trainer and helped deliver LGBTQ sensitivity workshops to educators, school administrators, social service workers, healthcare professionals, and students. He has appeared on several panels talking about trans rights and health issues and has also developed and led workshops for trans youth. Ajani's passion for helping marginalized youth stems from childhood. As a foster youth from the ages of 13 to 18, Ajani longed for advocates who represented him as a queer, trans youth of color. He has since resolved to be that advocate, ally, and voice for LGBTQ youth. “I believe that LGBT youth should be able to see themselves in their advocates. Representation matters. I just want to be the person I needed when I was younger. I want a trans kid to look at me & see my scars and know he can survive because that’s what scars are…a sign of survival”. Ajani is currently in the process of starting a mentoring initiative for transgender youth with Left Turn Village. He is also a student at Southern New Hampshire University, a writer, artist & lover of technology.
To request AJ as a speaker, email him at
Areas: Trans, Queer, BIPOC, Nuerodivergence
My life is one of many metamorphoses and many chapters bundled into a short near-24-year span. I’ve surprisingly found continuity in them though. Being that I was always very insightful, this exceptional journey has been a gift in the end, wizening as it can feel. I see a lot of hope for us, even amid the strife and amid the impasse points. I want to motivate BIPOC to see themselves as a part of this story, and for the general class of people to see them as just alongside them in a different way. And I want to bridge the ideological gaps in our society through asking the hard questions, and giving thorougher, organic answers, ones that we can live by, because we can see. I am here to help, and here to uncover.
To request Gillian as a speaker, email her at
Areas: Queer, BIPOC, Living w/HIV+
Nick Mendez was born and raised in East Harlem, New York and attended New York City Public Schools. He graduated from Facing History High School in 2010 where he helped start the school’s Gay/Straight Alliance and Student Government, for which he received the Posse Scholarship, and the Bea Kovich Memorial Scholarship. He attended Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin before withdrawing due to personal and familial circumstances, including the birth of his son. Along the way, he met his male partner and they moved to Irvington, NJ in 2015, which peaked his interest in Social Justice and change. He enrolled at Essex County College as a Criminal Justice major, where he maintains a 4.0 GPA and is expected to graduate in Spring 2022. He plans to attend Kean University to finish his Bachelor’s degree with a dual major of Criminal Justice and Public Administration and head to Law School.
To request Nick as a speaker, email him at
Areas: BIPOC, First-Generation Immigrant
Keyry Broncano is a First Generation college student pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Fashion Merchandising at Berkeley College. Broncano is an active student participating in the Berkeley Honors’ Program, Student Government Association, as a board member of the National Society of Leadership and Success. Both on and off campus, Broncano puts the utmost effort in speaking out about social injustices, especially regarding immigration-related issues. She is an active member of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a member of 100 Hispanic Women, as well an avid supporter of multiple immigration-empowerment organizations. After vigorously educating herself on various immigration-related issues, Broncano has used various platforms to educate, and share her knowledge about immigration reform. As she strives for success in the field of fashion, Broncano aspires to remain true to her roots and to represent her Hispanic community in the best light possible.
To request Keyry as a speaker, email her at