27, BROADCAST JOURNALIST
Reporter Alex Perez joined the award-winning NBC-5 News team in July of 2005. Before NBC-5, he was a reporter at KVIA-TV in El Paso, Texas. Perez has also worked at WBKB-TV in Alpena, Mich., and WICD-TV and WPGU-FM, both in Champaign, Ill.
As a general assignment reporter, Perez covers a wide-range of issues. While in Michigan, he helped create the area's first Crimestoppers program. In New Mexico, he was one of the first reporters to cover the controversial Minuteman Project along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Perez is a Chicago native, born and raised in the city's Pilsen neighborhood. He attended St. Laurence High School in Burbank, and holds a BA in journalism from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.Read more story below....
Alex has received several community awards for his work. He has worked with minority and LGBT journalism organizations, and also volunteers for various community-based groups. During his time with NBC-5—which recently withdrew its sponsorship for a local festival because a singer known for his anti-gay lyrics was scheduled to appear—Alex has come out to his colleagues and family.
DID YOU KNOW? Perez is Cuban and Puerto Rican and, at one point in his life, weighed 356 pounds.
Kelsey Pacha is a rising senior at Northwestern University, majoring in human development and psychological aervices. Her activism began at her Catholic high school in Iowa City, Iowa, when she wrote a series of scathing editorials on the school's administration. Her piece in favor of gay marriage resulted in a ban on all subsequent articles contrary to church teaching. She has been involved with NU's undergraduate LGBT group, Rainbow Alliance, since the fall quarter of her freshman year and is currently serving her second year as co-president. During her three years of involvement with Rainbow Alliance, she spearheaded visibility campaigns for National Coming Out Day and Rainbow Week. She also helped start a weekly LGBT Bible study, Claiming the Promise, as well as an annual spring program dealing with LGBT issues in Christianity.
In the summer of 2006, she attempted to enlist in the Army Reserve as an openly lesbian woman in conjunction with a nationwide campaign to protest the military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy. After being rejected, she staged a sit-in at the Clybourn/Division recruitment center and was arrested. This spring, she participated in the second annual Soulforce Equality Ride, a two-month long tour of Christian colleges and universities with policies that prevent students from coming out as LGBT. As a rider, she co-organized the West Bus' first stop to the University of Notre Dame, where she and nine others were given lifetime trespassing notices for attempting to speak with students on campus.
Her future plans include attending graduate school in counseling psychology and seminary with a concentration in LGBT spirituality. Her dream job would be the head counselor of a Christian outreach organization for LGBT youth.
DID YOU KNOW? Though Kelsey attends Northwestern, she is a die-hard University of Iowa Hawkeye fan.
Gilberto Soberanis, a.k.a. Beto, started his activism at Noble Street Charter School, when he and a group of students raised around $10,000 for the Heartland AIDS Ride 2002, a 650-mile charity bike ride from Minneapolis to Chicago that raised money for agencies that provide services for people with HIV/AIDS. He was also a member of his school's AIDS Action Club.
At age 19, Gilberto began his work with Howard Brown Health Center as a health educator for Broadway Youth Center ( BYC ) , a program that serves homeless, queer and at-risk youth. He has also served many other roles at Howard Brown, such an HIV peer educator and research associate for an LGBTQ youth HIV prevention study. He is now the testing coordinator for BYC.
Gilberto is the facilitator for the Socials group, a group designed for HIV-positive youth to form friendships and create a place where they can meet people with similar status in a more social setting. Later, these bonds can be used to benefit themselves at another more formal support groups. At BYC, he also provides program support to the services offered to LGBTQ and homeless youth, including daily drop-in and Friday at Broadway.
Gilberto was also with Advocates for Youth as an online peer educator, where youth would e-mail him with their problems, issues and questions. He would give provide them resources to obtain more information regarding HIV/STI facts and sexual health
DID YOU KNOW? One of his college professors tried to pronounce his last name and mistakenly called him Sober-anus?
Brian Lobel is a writer and performer whose plays, 'BALL' and 'Other Funny Stories About Cancer,' have been performed in 40 cities worldwide. Brian has called Chicago home since 2004, when he worked as an artistic apprentice at Steppenwolf Theatre Company. His plays have been performed at Bailiwick Repertory Theatre and Live Bait Theater; Warehouse Theater in Washington, D.C.; Makor and Galapagos Art Space in New York City; the First Person Festival in Philadelphia; and at many universities in between. During this time, Brian has also had the distinct pleasure of being a smoothie-maker, jeans seller, transcriptionist, group conversation facilitator, workshop leader and substitute teacher all throughout this wonderful city.
Brian is a two-time recipient of the DCA's CAAP Grant for New and Emerging Artists and has worked for Goodman Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre and Hell in a Handbag in various capacities. For three summers, he worked as the Program Coordinator at Seeds of Peace International Camp, working with youth from the Middle East.
In June, Brian will be attending Lincoln Center's Director's Lab in New York City before premiering new work at Fillet of Solo 2007. He is a lover of backgammon, Andersonville and challenging stories.
DID YOU KNOW? Brian spent three months in 2003 hula-hooping one hour every day in preparation for his play 'BALL.' He remains a hula hooping champion.