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Announcement2021 photos

For the third consecutive year, Freidin Brown, P.A. has teamed up with SAVE to provide $25,000 in scholarships for LGBTQ and allied students in South Florida who strive to lead in a field of social justice. Five exceptional candidates have been selected to receive a financial award of $5,000 each.

“These amazing students are more than deserving of our support, with each having already made an impact on the LGBTQ community. All of us at our firm are excited to watch them go on to do great things in the South Florida community,” said Jonathan Freidin, an attorney at Freidin Brown, P.A. who also serves as Chair of the SAVE, Inc. Board of Directors.

Brittney Gonzalez (she/her)

Brittney Gonzalez is a second-generation Latina college graduate with a Master of Science degree in Experimental Psychology and a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community. She is pursuing a degree in Nonprofit Operational Management and Fundamentals of Philanthropy, and since September 2019, Brittney has been an active member of the University of Miami Psychology Department’s Diversity and Equity Committee (DEC), having recently been promoted to Secretary of the DEC and the recipient of the 2021 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Staff Award. Additionally, Brittney has been a volunteer, endorsement panelist, and committee member with SAVE since March 2020. As someone who deeply believes in justice, she believes it is only right that she utilizes her academic experiences to break down educational barriers to civic engagement.

Melissa Handel (she/her)

Melissa Handel is a junior at Smith College studying Government and Women and Gender Studies. She is passionate about fighting injustices within the LGBTQ+ community as well as reproductive rights and justice. In high school, she served as an intern on Capitol Hill, working at both the Senate and House level. Watching our federal government in action shaped her passion for social justice. During her freshman year of college at the University of Miami (she has since transferred to Smith College), she worked with the peer education group connected to the school’s counseling center, specifically on finding ways to engage the LGBTQ+ population on campus. This past summer, Melissa interned with SAVE. One of the projects she assisted with was helping cities in Miami create more inclusive policies, specifically related to gender identity.

Abrianna Jean-Baptiste (she/they)

Abrianna Jean-Baptiste is a Senior at Florida International University, double majoring in Sociology and Women and Gender Studies. She is an activist at heart, as she aims to create a platform for folks to speak their truths and embrace their vulnerabilities. At FIU, Abrianna is involved in the Pride Student Union and is a Pride Center Student Assistant, where they create events focusing on social change and justice for those in need. Abrianna is also a co-facilitator of an affinity group on campus called “BLAQOUT,” focusing on black LGBTQIA+ Students on campus and giving them a platform and space to thrive. She has moderated conversations for impactful topics such as “Bridging the Gaps between LGBTQIA+ Children and Caribbean families”, and “Black Brilliance: Being and Becoming.” As a social justice advocate and future graduate student, Abrianna’s goal is to help folks thrive rather than being under the pressure to just survive.

Amelia Leon (he/they/she)

Amelia León was born and raised in Miami, Florida with their sister and Cuban parents. In 2015, she graduated with an IB bilingual Spanish Diploma then entered Florida International University to pursue his Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Sciences. During their time at FIU, she was able to participate in multiple research internships, such as SEAPHAGES, Amgen Harvard Scholars, and SCRIPPS SURF Program where they investigated topics in neuroscience, microbiology, and immunology. They were recently accepted to FIU where they will be completing her Master’s in Public Health. He will also continue their public health research under Dr. Devieux where they study the public health crisis of Intimate Partner Violence against transgender and cisgender women. They one day hope to open an inclusive and trauma-informed healthcare clinic centering on the needs of the LGBTQIA+ and other marginalized communities as a physician-scientist to provide queer survivors with much-needed health interventions and research.

Thuy-Thuong (Ti Ti) Nguyen (she/they)

As a first-generation student who is the first in their family to graduate high school and university, Ti Ti struggled to acclimate in school and find acceptance for both their queer identity and ethnicity. Ti Ti graduated magna cum laude from FIU with a Bachelors in Health Service Administration and was admitted to FIU’s Masters of Public Health program with a concentration in Epidemiology. During their time as an undergrad, Ti Ti was president of Gender and Sexuality Alliance and Vice President of Pride Student Union. They are currently a lead organizer for Reflect Collective a non-profit that provides financial support and healing through art initiatives to LGBTQIA+ survivors of sexual violence. She is passionate about caring for the aging LGBTQIA+ population and aspires to become a geriatric care physician and a public health practitioner. Aside from LGBTQIA+ community involvement, she is also a child advocate volunteer with the Miami-Dade Guardian Ad Litem program and a certified nursing assistant.

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