STAFF

 

Aaron Belkin

Director

Dr. Aaron Belkin is a scholar and advocate who, since 1999, has served as founding director of the Palm Center, which the Advocate named as one of the most effective LGBT rights organizations in the United States. He designed and implemented much of the public education campaign responsible for helping end the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in 2011. Aaron summarized the keys to successful advocacy in the e-book, How We Won: Progressive Lessons from the Repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which Arianna Huffington praised as a “best practices guide for civil rights fights.” He has written and edited more than thirty scholarly articles, chapters and books.

Kate Kendell

Campaign Chair

For 22 years, Kate Kendell led the National Center for Lesbian Rights, a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education. Kate is a nationally recognized spokesperson for LGBT rights and has an active voice in major media, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Advocate, NPR, CNN, and many others. Despite the national success of NCLR under her tenure, her most rewarding responsibilities still include fostering alliances on the community and organizational levels, and advocating from a grass-roots perspective on issues concerning social justice.

Sean McElwee

Director of Research and Polling

McElwee, co-founder of Data for Progress, is Take Back the Court's Director of Research and Polling. He has spent half a decade bringing cutting edge data analysis to progressive advocacy and his work has been cited by politicians at the national, state and local level. His writing has been featured in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Nation, Vox and The Washington Post.

 

Alicia Barnes

Digital Media Manager

Alicia joins Take Back the Court after working for the Be A Hero campaign as a Grassroots Organizer and Digital Associate. As a Navy veteran of the Iraq war, Alicia first became involved in progressive movements with the campaign to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. She served on the inaugural Student Veterans Task Force at Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis, where she earned numerous awards and scholarships as a student leader. She has attended national trainings for progressive veterans and is a graduate of Emerge America.

Jameson Casentini

Administrative Assistant

Jameson Casentini earned his Bachelors degree in political science from San Francisco State University in 2005, graduating with cum laude honors, and completed his Master of Arts degree in political science in 2013. He has worked for the Palm Center, a public policy institute that focuses on research of sexual minorities in the military, since 2013. Jameson was born in San Francisco and raised in Contra Costa County. In addition to his academic interests in the fields of political theory and philosophy, he also enjoys writing creatively and going on outdoor adventures.