Ricardo Martinez (he/him)
Ricardo joined Equality Texas as its CEO in December of 2019 following a national search. Ricardo is a first generation immigrant from Mexico who grew up in Brooklyn, New York and attended public schools through high school. He was the second person of his immediate family to graduate high school and the first to earn a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree. Ricardo was called to a career as an advocate for equity and inclusion after participating in a program called Council for Unity in junior high school. Council for Unity focused on leadership development, self-expression, mediation, conflict resolution, mindfulness and advocacy. Ricardo credits his participation with helping him to uncover his passion and life purpose for mission-based work.
After post-secondary education, Ricardo amassed seventeen years of nonprofit fundraising, organizing, advocacy, and leadership experience with organizations like PENCIL, Summer Search, GLSEN, and Stand for Children. Most recently at Stand for Children, Ricardo lead a national organizing and constituent engagement effort for five years. Immediately prior to his tenure at Stand for Children, he spent several years with GLSEN; initially as Senior Manager of Field Services on the national team in NYC and later as the President of the Phoenix Chapter. Under Ricardo’s leadership, GLSEN Phoenix was an instrumental coalition partner in overturning Arizona’s “no promo homo” law, which prohibited K-12 schools from including LGBTQ representation, content, and history in their curriculum.
Ricardo has an undergraduate degree from Stony Brook University, and a master’s degree in nonprofit management from The New School in New York City. He was honored by the Obama Administration as an emerging LGBTQ Leader in 2012 and recently awarded the Stony Brook University’s 40 Under 40 award for the impact he has had in Civil Service and Activism since graduating from the university.
Nickoli Benkert (he/him)
Nickoli is an Equality Fellow living in Austin, Texas. He joined Equality Texas during the 87th Texas Legislative Session and has since assisted with legislative analysis, field outreach, and financial reporting efforts. Nickoli is currently attending The University of Texas at Austin where he is pursuing a degree in Political Communication Studies. Nickoli is passionate about political advocacy to achieve equality and civil protections for all LGBTQ+ Texans.
Caden Campbell (they/them)
Caden is Equality Texas’ Development Associate. They came to Austin three years ago by way of Eureka Springs, Arkansas where they lived in a log cabin and served as the Stewardship Writer for a non-profit big cat rescue and sanctuary.
With a degree in English Language and Literature from Sweet Briar College, Caden’s research interests have included the historical “outsider” in largely cis-heteronormative societies. Their thesis, “A Witch, Who is Not? Gender Instability and the Renaissance Witch,” explored witchcraft as not a religious crime, but the crime of transcending gender in binary England. Their most recent publication was a co-authored chapter in Genny Beeman’s Trans People in Higher Ed (SUNY Press, 2019), which explored the personal experiences of a queer librarian and a trans student in a Southern women’s college, calling for more inclusive policies regarding the admittance and retention of trans students.
Today, they live in Austin with animal companion Rigatoni, stage name: Carbarella.
Gordy Carmona (they/them)
Gordy is a former Equality Fellow and joined Equality Texas as Field Coordinator in Collin County in March 2022. They grew up all over Texas but has called Plano home for majority of their adult life.
They began their advocacy journey after joining the board of directors of GALA in 2019 as Community Chair and volunteered with Equality Texas and community partners at Advocacy Day. They are a fierce advocate of the LGBTQIA+ community, especially when engaging trans youth. They has traveled to Austin on many occasions at a moments notice to testify at the Capitol during the 86th & 87th legislative sessions (including all three 2020 special sessions).
Gordy can usually be found volunteering with North Texas nonprofits or organizing educational panel discussions on various topics pertaining to the LGBTQIA+ community.
Sarah Lynn Chavez (she/her)
Sarah is Equality Texas’ Development Director and uses she/her pronouns. Her development background began at environmental law firms on the West Coast, but Texas kept calling her home. Sarah joined Equality Texas in 2019, melding her activism with her skillset. She has loved meeting community members, learning more about the legislative process, and dancing her heart out at Equality Texas’ first and second annual galas. She’s a seventh-generation Texan from Bexar County, has lived in nearly every town on I-35, and currently resides in Fort Worth with her spouse, Matty.
Johnathan Gooch (he/him)
Johnathan is a native Texan, whose deep roots drive his passion for growth. He has fought alongside the Chagossians in their quest to return to their homeland and worked with the University of Texas School of Law to hold Russia accountable for its mistreatment of ethnic minorities in Chechnya. Having mobilized his analytical skills at both the New York Department of State and the Texas Supreme Court, he is proud to steer his skillset into the work of bettering the lives of LGBTQ Texans. He joined the Equality Texas team in April 2022 as Communications Director.
Johnathan is the former Editor-in-Chief of the Texas International Law Journal. He studied philosophy and the classics at St. John’s College, and focused on human rights law while at the University of Texas School of Law. Outside Equality Texas Johnathan volunteers with the American Red Cross and the Trevor Project. When he’s not laser-focused on the mission, you might find him hiking through a National Park or shearing alpacas in the Texas Hill Country.
Jason Guidangen (any/all)
Jason Guidangen is a Legislative Fellow with Equality Texas, having joined the team initially as an intern in the spring of 2021. Jason has over two years of experience in government and political affairs, with two state legislative sessions under his belt. Jason devotes his time and effort to supporting our work both in Austin and all over the state. Jason is a lifelong Texan committed to making an impact, serving others, and centering his life around love and compassion. When he’s not reading the news or researching bills, you can find Jason at a coffee shop in the company of good friends.
Angela Hale (she/her)
Angela is a Dallas native, a former Emmy Award-winning TV reporter and veteran journalist at CBS KTVT Channel 11 in Dallas Fort Worth. As the managing partner of Red Media Group, a strategic communications and public affairs company, she works as a Senior Advisor to Equality Texas. She led communications efforts for the legalization of gay marriage for the Akin Gump Law Firm and the Texas plaintiffs and has been leading lobby and communications strategy at Equality Texas since 2015.
Angela has also served in executive leadership for Speaker of the House and for the Office of the Attorney General. She led communications and lobby strategy during the 2017 legislative session for Equality Texas, and the business coalition against LGBTQ discrimination defeated the bathroom bill twice. During the 2019 legislative session, she spearheaded Equality Texas communication and lobby efforts and led the Texas Welcomes All Business Coalition that included Texas Competes, Texas Welcomes All, Tech Net and the North Texas Commission defeating dozens of discriminatory bills. Angela also served as the Equality Texas Interim CEO in the summer and fall of 2019.
Rachel Hill (she/her)
Rachel is the Government Affairs Director for Equality Texas. She’s advocated for Texans for five years, over two Texas legislative sessions, and is committed to increasing understanding of and access to the advocacy process. Prior to joining Equality Texas, she worked with the Dallas Regional Chamber to increase quality of life and opportunity for the Dallas region. She’s a lifelong Texan and when the legislature is not in session, she lives in Dallas where you can usually find her (in non-pandemic times) at a coffee shop laughing with friends.
Javier Osorio (he/him)
As a first generation immigrant from Peru, Javier Osorio earned a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree in Accounting from the University of Texas at San Antonio. He joined the Equality Texas staff in August 2017, after the 85th Special Legislative Session ended, and is now our Controller. As a talented financial accountant specializing in financial planning, reporting and analysis, Javier is excited to also provide a positive, can-do attitude to the team.
Brad Pritchett (he/him)
Brad Pritchett joined the staff of Equality Texas in February of 2021 as Field Director. Prior to Equality Texas, Brad was a Policy and Advocacy Strategist with the ACLU of Texas where he focused on electoral strategies and LGBTQ+ issues at the Texas Legislature.
Brad was one of many community organizers who helped lobby Houston City Council to pass nondiscrimination protections for all Houstonians in 2014. Brad served as Political Director of the Houston Unites Campaign to defend the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, where he managed coalition and political relationships for the campaign. Prior to the ACLU he served as Operations and Communications Manager at the Harris County Democratic Party for 5 years.
Brad is heavily involved in Houston’s LGBTQ+ community and lives in the Houston Heights with his husband and their 2 beagles.
Miranda Wood (she/her)
Miranda is Equality Texas’ Harris County Field Organizer. A reluctant Michigan native, Miranda spent her first 23 years in the Midwest before moving to Texas. She studied Social Relations and Policy at Michigan State University, where she learned of and experienced the changemaking power of one-on-one conversations. Though she’s worked in people-focused environments for the past decade, she found her stride knocking doors on behalf of the decennial census, where she found fulfillment in educating and empowering her community to be civically engaged. Her vast love for her chosen state and advocacy pushed her to devote her talents to the fight on behalf of the LGBT community, which ultimately brought her to Equality Texas. When she’s not working, you’ll probably run into her at a local music venue or hiking an overambitious trail.
Nimisha Jain (she/her)
Nimisha Jain is a student intern at Equality Texas since February of 2022. She is a fourth-year psychology major at the University of Texas at Austin with a minor in LGBT Studies. She is also an intern at the wellness center at her university where she campaigns for equity and inclusion in mental health care. She is excited to advocate for issues affecting LGBTQ+ individuals through her internship.